La Fantaisie

Fantasy

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, La Fantaisie (The Fantasy), date unknown

Puvis de Chavannes was born in Lyon, France in 1824 and decided to become a painter after a trip to Italy in 1846. Puvis de Chavannes is best known for his paintings; yet, his pen and ink drawings are also important.

William Edmonson, Rabbit, 1940
Augusta Savage, Realization, 1938

Augusta Savage (1892 – 1962) was an American sculptor born in Florida. She attended Cooper Union where she was awarded a fellowship to study abroad in France but was rejected because of her race. She was later invited to study sculpture at a committee member’s home in Long Island, New York City, New York. Savage’s work is primarily portraits – in her early years she created busts of author and civil rights activist, W.E.B. Du Bois and civil rights activist, Marcus Garvey. In 1929, Savage was able to study abroad in France and Europe and returned to the United States during the Great Depression, teaching art and joining the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. She was the first African-American woman to join the association, paving the way for her future artists. In 1939, Savage was commissioned to create a work for the New York World’s Fair – The Harp featured 12 African-American youth as the strings of the musical instrument. She spent most her later years in a small town, teaching art at summer camps, writing, and sculpting. She died in 1962. Today, Savage is remembered today as a sculptor, activist and arts educator.

Image released into public domain.

(source: http://www.wikimedia.org)

 

William Edmonson, Rabbit, 1940
William Edmonson, Rabbit, 1940

William Edmonson (1874 – 1951) was an African-American artist active from the 1930s to his death in 1951. Born in Tennessee to two former slaves, Edmonson worked in railway shops and at a local hospital as a janitor to support himself. Edmonson began sculpting in 1934 and did so because it is said he received a vision from God. His first projects were limestone tombstones for associates and he later moved on to sculpt pieces of religious symbolism including angels, animals, and birds. Edmonson’s also created sculptures of community and church members, and notable public figures including Eleanor Roosevelt. Edmonson’s work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in 1938 and today Edmonson remains the first African-American artist to be given a one-person exhibition at the institution.

Image released into public domain. 

(source: Luce Foundation Center for American Art)

william-henry-johnson-woman-ironing-1944

William Henry Johnson, Woman Ironing, 1944

William Henry Johnson (1901 – 1970) was an African-American artist born in South Carolina. He began his career as a student at the National Academy of Design in New York City, where he worked closely with Charles Webster Hawthorne. Johnson lived in Paris where he experienced French Expressionism and returned in the United States in the late 1920s. Johnson worked and lived in Scandanavia with his wife and experienced folk art. After returned in the United States in the late 1930s, Johnson found work at the Harlem Community Art Center in Harlem, New York City, New York where he worked as an art teacher as part of the Federal Art Project and Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1956, Johnson’s life’s work was almost destroyed when his guardian declared him unable to pay for storage. Instead, Helen Harriton, Mary Beattie Brady, and others arranged with the court to have Johnson’s belongings delivered to the Harmon Foundation – the foundation would use the works to advance interracial understanding and support African American achievements in the fine arts.

Image released into public domain. 

source: http://www.wikimedia.org