Monday, April 6, 2009

James Washington, Gwen Knight & Jacob Lawrence

These three important artist were good friends.  Their friendship started when Mr. Washington visited New York City in the early 1950s.  He made a point of visiting Jacob Lawrence during his week long stay in the East Coast metropolis.  

They kept in touch by mail until Lawrence and Knight moved to Seattle in 1971.

In honor of artists Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, the Seattle Art Museum created the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Gallery in the newly expanded downtown museum. Upon her death, Gwen Knight bequeathed to the museum a portraitbust of Gwen by Augusta Savage and other items from their Seattle home and funded a fellowship for African-American art and artists.  

Titus Kaphar is the first artist to be awarded the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence fellowship.  The Yale painter received $10,000 and a exhibit in the gallery.  The 31 year old contemporary artist paints beautiful reproductions of paintings from the 18th and 19th century, cuts them up and skillfully rearranges the pieces to make comments about race and social position.

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