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Catalog Data

Jacob A. Lawrence, 7 Sep 1917 - 9 Jun 2000  Search this
Jacob A. Lawrence, 7 Sep 1917 - 9 Jun 2000  Search this
Ink over graphite on paper
Sheet: 28.6 x 24.8cm (11 1/4 x 9 3/4")
Mat (Verified): 45.1 × 40.5 cm (17 3/4 × 15 15/16")
Jacob A. Lawrence: American\African American  Search this
Exhibition Label:
Jacob Lawrence 1917-2000
Jacob Lawrence, best known for his dynamic depictions of African American life and history, rarely engaged in portraiture. But when he made a self-portrait like this one, he treated his own face like his other subjects-as a basis for inventing expressive abstract shapes. In this drawing, Lawrence concentrated his appearance into a few essential lines and shapes. A black arc describes the shape of his skull, only thinly covered by hair. His shaggy mustache is a complex of wavy lines flanked by heavier curves evoking folds of aging flesh. Lawrence left most of his face white to set off the abstracted black shapes of his nose, eyes, mouth, and mustache. Lawrence poetically combined observation with geometry to reflect both his appearance and his approach to art.
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache  Search this
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Beard  Search this
Self-portrait  Search this
Jacob A. Lawrence: Visual Arts\Artist  Search this
Jacob A. Lawrence: Male  Search this
Jacob A. Lawrence: Education\Educator\Professor  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection Conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© The Jacob & Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery