Famous African American Painters [Black Artists]

Famous African American Painters [Black Artists]

There are many famous African American painters, including Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. Both artists received critical acclaim early in their careers. Their works are often seen in museums and galleries.

In addition to these artists, you'll also discover works by Hughie Lee-Smith and David Hammons. Below are famous African American Painters.

Barkley Hendricks

In his portraits, Hendricks often included black subjects, but his style was more contemporary than his contemporaries. His work straddles the lines of Pop Art, Conceptual Art, and Baroque portraiture, and he established a critical precedent for younger artists.

His work was celebrated in his first retrospective exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art in 2008. Curator Trevor Schoonmaker organized the exhibition, and it traveled to other prestigious museums in the United States. His works are also included in many public collections throughout the US and abroad.

The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York owns several of his paintings. Hendricks studied in Europe and drew inspiration from the Old Masters. He also combined his work with his interest in African and Indigenous art and jazz music.

In later years, Hendricks worked mostly on portraits of Black people, embracing both their culture and identities while exploring abstraction and form.

David Hammons

One of the most celebrated body prints of the 20th century was produced by David Hammons. The series of body prints were created between 1968 and 1979. Hammons's works evoke the African-American experience uniquely.

In these paintings, Hammons covered his body in oily substances and pressed it against paper. The result was an eerie, ghostlike image. The artist was born in Springfield, Illinois, and moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s.

He took art classes at the prestigious Otis College of Art, where he was mentored by Charles White, a famous artist and the husband of Elizabeth Catlett. White allowed the cash-strapped Hammons to attend classes for free. Eventually, Hammons graduated from the Chouinard Art Institute.

His early works featured caricature-like imprints of his face and rusted garden tools. Hammons's work is difficult to categorize. He strives for a kind of unknowability, one that is elusive, confounding, and tricky. His works, in a way, are like a riddle or a puzzle without the edge pieces. 


Hughie Lee-Smith

Hughie Lee-Smith is one of America's famous African American painters. His works are displayed in several prominent museums and galleries. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a day in honor in Cleveland, Ohio, and a key to the city of Hartford, Connecticut.

In addition to his numerous awards, Lee-Smith's work is featured in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

His early works were displayed in museums and galleries in Chicago. His work was also featured in the American Negro Exposition in Chicago. Hughie Lee-Smith was an African American artist and painter who often painted figures with their backs to the viewer against a desolate backdrop.

In addition to capturing the beauty of nature, his works also explored themes of racial and cultural alienation. As an artist, Lee-Smith's work reflected his own experiences and reflected his feelings and fears.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent. He was fluent in French, Spanish, and English. His mother, Matilde, encouraged him to study art and encouraged him to express himself through his art.

While growing up, he ran away from home several times and lived at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Basquiat's work is highly technical and sophisticated. As an artist, he rejected the conventional rules of the Western art world.

His paintings criticized racism, colonialism, and capitalism. His work was based on the African-American experience. Basquiat left home at the age of seventeen. He lived with his father until his parents divorced. His mother was deemed unfit to care for him because of her mental problems. He also reported physical and emotional abuse.

Then, he was adopted by a friend's family. In the meantime, he sold hand-painted postcards and T-shirts. In 1980, he met Andy Warhol in a SoHo restaurant, and he sold him a postcard signed by Andy Warhol. This led to his first exhibition at Colab, which he later sold to the public.

Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage is one of the most famous African American painters of the 20th century. She split her time between activism and art, searching for a space for black artists in the United States.

Her art was influential to others, including Gwendolyn Knight, Charles Alston, and Jacob Lawrence. Although she was not recognized as a major figure during the Harlem Renaissance, she remains an important figure in the black art world.

The Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in Harlem was founded by Savage in 1932. This was the first African American art gallery in the United States.

It also became the foundation for the work of many of the leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance, including Jacob Lawrence and Norman Lewis. In 1937, Savage was appointed the first director of the Harlem Community Art Center and continued to pursue her art until she died in 1962. After a while in France, Savage returned to the United States.

She continued to make art despite the Great Depression and became the first African-American member of the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. She also became active in the Federal Art Project, which supported black artists.

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Jarrell Gibbs

Gibbs' style of painting is very loose and playful. His paintings evoke the beauty of everyday life experiences. Although his paintings are mostly static, they are often composed of multiple layers and emphasize the multi-faceted experience of African-Americans, specifically Black identity.

His paintings also pay homage to Matisse and are notable for their attention to size, placement, and painterly gestures. Gibbs began painting only about four years ago and was self-taught until he entered MICA's MFA program last summer.

He was drawn to the medium due to its materiality and immediacy. His portraits depict African-American culture and people of color with loose, fluid brushstrokes.

Gibbs received the commission for a portrait of the late Maryland Representative, Elijah E. Cummings, who passed away in October 2019. He was the first African-American elected official to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, and it will be installed there in January. Although only 20 portraits of African-American leaders are currently displayed in the U.S. Capitol, the portrait of Cummings will soon join the other nine portraits.

Chris Ofili

One of the best known mixed-media artists from the American South, Chris Ofili creates works that speak to the black experience. His works often contain deeply disturbing messages and address racism.

He is one of a handful of artists who have addressed such issues directly. His work aims to dispel stereotypes and promote a more nuanced view of the black experience. His work, The Holy Virgin Mary, was so controversial that it was contested by several prominent figures.

The painting depicted a black woman in a blue robe. Ofili created this piece using mixed media and collaged images to create the image. The work caused controversy when it was shown in the Brooklyn Museum in 1999. Rudy Giuliani, a prominent New York City politician, slammed the piece, calling it "degenerate stuff."

The artist later sued over the piece, but was ultimately vindicated. Ofili's style of painting is both flamboyant and elegant. His paintings are layered with humour and depth, and his work is often accompanied by a compelling audio track. His paintings are infused with humor, satire, and heightened sensuality.

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