The history of African American art is rich, and Annie Lee is part of that past. Lee is famous for her paintings that showed emotion through body language. Her figures lacked faces, but you could feel the humor and energy.   Lee lived a full life from 1935 to 2014, but she did not become a black artist until she was well into her 40’s. She was a recognized for her talent with black art and was offered a scholarship to Northwestern University, but she wanted to raise a family instead.   Annie was raised with a strong work ethic, learning how to sew, clean, wash, and cook. When she got married, she put down the paintbrush and took to the skills her mother taught her growing up. It was not until after she had lost two husbands that she resumed painting. Because she had to work during the day to care for her two children, she was only able to paint at night. However, it quickly became her refuge and the black artwork depicted that.   Lee participated in her first gallery showing in 1985 and every one of her pieces sold within the first four hours. She continued her day job at the railroad because she was leery of losing the secure paycheck, even with the popularity of her artwork.   Only a year later, her life took a terrible turn when her son died in a car accident. She left her job at the railroad to grieve…

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Charles-Bibbs

Charles Bibbs is an American artist whose vibrant acrylic and ink artwork highlights the African and African-American society in vivid detail. As a self-described “Keeper of our Culture”, Bibbs has strived to record the past and present experiences of the African/African-American people in his rich artwork. His unique blend of reality with dynamic movement creates poignant pieces that illustrate the African-American culture as positive, strong, uplifting and loving. While all of his artwork shows this passionate attention to detail, two of them stood out to me and had an emotional impact immediately. Firstly, in his painting “Urban Knight” he illustrates a smiling Pastor. The cornerstone to any church a Pastor is seen by his congregation as well as most of the outside community as a leader and as an example of goodness and kindness. He is indeed a “Knight” who uses his moral compass to fight against the evil, rather it be spiritual or tangible, in his community. He is seen as a comforting source for many in an unpredictable and often cruel world. In this painting the “Urban Knight” stands tall and regal, taking up the entirety of the canvas and I believe this is to express just how important his role is to the African-American society. “She Warrior #1” is another piece that shows a strong figure. This image illustrates a women from African society with intimidating yet beautiful markings on her face. The word warrior could reflex her status as an actual woman of battle or of…

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The Pioneers Joshua Johnston (1765-1830), Otto Reinhold Jacobi (1812-1901), Patrick Reason (1817-1856), William H. Simpson (1818-1872), and Robert Scott Duncanson (1821-1872) represent some of the names of the early trailblazers who were the unusual combination of black, American, and artist. A review of their work suggests that these vanguards did not focus on the issues surrounding their racial acceptance in society; but rather followed personal or business interests such as Duncanson’s extensive mural work resulting from his classical education in Paris. Robert Scott Duncanson, considered by some art historians as the first black man to earn his living as an artist, was a painter of both Hudson River landscapes and floral still lifes. Joshua Johnston, “ the first American artist of African descent to create a sizeable body of work of high quality” according to Romare Bearden’s Six Black American Artists, was listed in a Baltimore directory from 1796 to 1824 as a portraitist. Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828-1901) was a well-known landscape and genre painter from Providence, Rhode Island. Although he was the first Black American artist to win a national art prize, a first-place at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876, he was denied admission into the hall to accept the award because of his race.  Specializing in making bird’s-eye views of California and Nevada towns, Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) was the first recognized Black American artist in the American West.  Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), known for religious and genre paintings, was the first black artist to earn an international…

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Known for her piercing revisitations of America’s violent relationship with race, Walker is working with characteristically large questions. Her studio looks down on Manhattan’s Garment District, with floor-to-ceiling sketches that recall her famous silhouettes pinned to the walls. Alongside personal ephemera – a White House napkin, an Alvin Ailey Barbie gifted by André Leon Talley – it houses an enviable collection of books, which she mines for both literary and pictorial content.

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The slowdown so far seems to have had minimal negative effect on the art market. It may even be encouraging more participants. In England, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reports that art and antique prices were up in the first quarter, largely because the “volatility of the financial markets appears to be encouraging consumers to switch to alternative investment opportunities.” The high end of the market is particularly strong, while lower-end collectors may be reining in some of their spending. Last year was the seventh consecutive year of price appreciation, Artprice said in its annual art market report. Total fine art market revenue soared 44 percent to $9.2 billion in 2007, “a veritable annus mirabilis for the art market,” Artprice said. Sotheby’s held a record-breaking $316 million sale in November, and the Mei Moses art index, which tracks a limited number of art auction resales, shows returns grew by more than 20 percent in 2007, which aligned the year with those of the “art bubble years” between 1984 and 1990. But some art-world insiders expect the slowdown will make its mark: Andy Augenblick, president of Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, which makes art-secured loans, recently predicted that financial pressures might force some collectors to sell. Artprice reports that prices may have hit their ceiling in 2007. Art as an investment is still a very new phenomenon. “Traditionally, it was a few people who collected art,” says Peter Scott Sahlman, owner of New York art consultancy Sahlman Fine Art. “Art…

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Whether you’re interested in adding modern African American art to your home collection or are just looking to integrate this art style into your décor, it’s imperative that you learn more about the background and history. While many of us know the basic ideas of where modern African American art was inspired, the more we know, the better we can include this art into our homes as well as our hearts. It’s interesting to note that modern African American art began long before the idea of ‘modern art’ was conceived. As early back as slavery, African Americans were crafting iron pieces, pottery, quilts, baskets, cabinets, and silver. While many of these tasks were relegated to them, the utmost craftsmanship was required and thus the African American population became quite skilled in these crafts. What’s even more compelling about this situation is that the African Americans were generally allowed to sell any work they did in their ‘off time’ for profits they could keep, thus enabling them to purchase their freedom from their masters. But while most of these early examples of modern African American art were for practical purposes, other African Americans began to create portraits as artistic pieces. Artists like Robert M. Douglas Jr. and Joshua Johnson were taught the basics of painting and composition on their own or through private tutoring, as deemed by their owners or by abolitionists that wanted the slaves to be able to save up to buy their freedom. Once the Civil War ended…

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