Art and Seattle: Jacob Lawrence
ART AND SEATTLE: JACOB LAWRENCE
“We have no property! We have no wives! No children! We have no city! No country! —petition of many slaves 1773,” Panel 5 (1955) from “Struggle: From the History of the American People” (1954–56), by Jacob Lawrence. Egg tempera on hardboard. Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross/Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation.
This seminar looks closely at a rotating selection of artists, movements, and collections that have shaped and been shaped by the city of Seattle. Spring 2021's focus is the art of Jacob Lawrence, one of the most important artists of the 20th century and the subject of a special exhibition opening at the Seattle Art Museum in March. Lawrence, who is best known for epic, multi-panel narratives of American history as seen through the eyes of Black Americans, left New York for Seattle in 1970 to become professor of painting at UW’s School of Art + Art History + Design. Through close analysis of key artworks, art historical scholarship, and primary sources from local archives, we will deepen our understanding of Lawrence’s work as it relates to topics including race, regional experience, artistic networks, abstraction and modernism, narrative, history, and legacy. Students will conduct original research and contribute essays to a digital publication spotlighting work made during Lawrence’s time teaching at the University of Washington.