1920s to 1940s: Black Visual Culture

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Haitian Market, 1920 Oil On Board 16" X 12"
1920s to 1940s: Black Visual Culture
Curated by: Sherman K. Edmiston, Jr.

419 Convent Ave., Suite A
New York, NY 10031
October 5th, 2013 - November 9th, 2013
Opening: October 5th, 2013 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

New York
figurative, landscape, surrealism, photography, mixed-media


1920s to 1940s Black Visual Culture: Breaking Away from “racially representative” to Visual Modernism Exhibition at Essie Green Galleries

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, October 5th, 2013 - The works of notable artists Charles Alston, Norman Lewis, William Edouard Scott, and Charles Sebree among others, will be featured in the exhibition, 1920s to 1940s: Black Visual Culture,at the renowned Essie Green Galleries, October 5th - November 9th, 2013. 

The exhibition features several styles that were nascent during the early twentieth century. These styles range from the European inspired Impressionistic, Cubist, and Surrealist works, to the first true form of American art, Abstract Expressionism.

Charles Alston received his MFA from ColumbiaUniversity in 1931 when he was 24 years old. His career began while still a student, illustrating album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington and book covers for poet Langston Hughes. In his thirties he gave up commercial illustration. The MetropolitanMuseum bought one of his paintings for their permanent collection when he was forty.

Norman Lewis was the first major African-American member of the movement known as Abstract Expressionism. In the late 1930s, Lewis began to exhibit his work at local venues such as the Harlem YWCA. His first solo exhibition was at the WillardGallery in 1949; he was forty years old.

The first African-American graduate of the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, William Edouard Scott was well known for his portraits, Haitian scenes, and murals, executed in an impressionistic style. He challenged the subjugating depiction of blacks in art. Scott’s innovative exploration of African-American subjects would become a precursor to the Harlem Renaissance.

Charles Sebree worked for the WPA when he was twenty two and participated in Chicago’s black Renaissance movement, comparable to the Harlem Renaissance. At twenty four, Sebree was honored that Gertrude Stein, Ferdinand Leger and Picasso encouraged him by saying that he was on the right track.

Essie Green Galleries has specialized in exhibiting the works of America’s Black Masters since 1978.

Essie Green Galleries is located at 419A Convent AvenueNew YorkNY, 10031 in the Sugar Hill Historic District of Harlem. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-6pm. For more information please contact Sherman Edmiston, 212-368-9635 or visit