Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Did You Know? African American Biographies: Artists

My objective is to find Biographies that are new to me and my children.  Searching each day to find out about those that paved the way.  Yesterday we found three artist a painter, sculptor and an assemblage artist.


Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) 


Henry Ossawa Tanner was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1869. As a young man, he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1891, Tanner moved to Paris, and after several exhibits, gained international acclaim—becoming the first African-American painter to receive such attention. "Nicodemus Visiting Jesus" is one of his most famous works. He's also known for the paintings "The Banjo Lesson" and "The Thankful Poor." Tanner died in 1937 in Paris, France. (source)



Edmonia Lewis (1845-1911)


Edmonia Lewis was born July 4, 1845, in Greenbush, New York. Her first work seen publicly was a medallion advertised for sale early in 1864. Later in the year her bust of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was widely praised. Sales of copies of the bust allowed her to sail to Rome, where she mastered working in marble. She quickly achieved success as a sculptor. The circumstances of her death are unclear. Source

Betye Saar (1926-living)


Betye Saar was born July 30, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. Saar's artwork addressed American racism and stereotypes head on, typically of the assemblage format. One of her more famous works, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, confronted the myths and prejudice of the syrup bottle.(Source)

Nine Mojo Secrets 1971

Liberation of Aunt Jemima 1972

Unearthing the Future 1991

Our objective is to find Biographies that are new to us.Thats all for today.  



  1. Great information! Thanks for sharing I will be adding the above to our list
    Marlika ( )

  2. I love your little tribute to Mrs. Saar. She is a wonderful woman, whom I have known since I was a child. I was in her kitchen one day, and saw a huge collection of Aunt Jemima dolls she had sitting in a rocking chair, and I asked her what that was about. She told me that people considered the dolls kitschy, and she wanted to keep them out of the hands of people who were ignorant of the racist origin of the dolls. She is the coolest person you could imagine, and I am lucky to know her.