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Special biographical publications may be useful for general reference. They may contain detailed information about an artist’s life and works. These can be derived in one of two ways:
- Biography and Genealogy Master Index
A good resource for researching individuals who are less well-known or famous. This online database Indexes biographical entries found in print dictionaries and encyclopedias. It covers millions of individuals, both living and deceased, from every field of activity and from all areas of the world.
- NYPL Catalog
Biographical publications can also be found by performing a subject heading search within our catalog. They may be categorized based on the artist’s region, ethnicity, gender, nationality, medium, time period, or movement.
- Some examples are listed below:
Modern Negro Art by "Modern Negro Art" is still an indispensable reference work 50 years after its initial publication. Yet another generation of scholars will benefit from its keen insights into the early evolution of African Americans in the visual arts, and its astounding bibliographic compilation." Lowry S. Sims, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Call Number: MAMT (Porter, J. A. Modern Negro art)
Publication Date: 1992-11-01
Harlem Renaissance: art of Black America by In the 1920s, Harlem was the capital of Black America and home to an epochal African-American cultural flowering called the Harlem Renaissance. This book presents the work of the most important visual artists of the day, including Meta Warrick Fuller, Aaron Douglas and Palmer Hayden.
Call Number: Sc F 87-75
Publication Date: 1987
African-American Art by African-American Art: A Visual and Cultural History offers a current and comprehensive history that contextualizes black artists within the framework of American art as a whole. The first chronological survey covering all art forms from colonial times to the present to publish in over a decade, it explores issues of racial identity and representation in artistic expression, while also emphasizing aesthetics and visual analysis to help students develop an understanding and appreciation of African-American art that is informed but not entirely defined by racial identity. Through a carefully selected collection of creative works and accompanying analyses, the text also addresses crucial gaps in the scholarly literature, incorporating women artists from the beginning and including coverage of photography, crafts, and architecture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as twenty-first century developments. All in all, African American Art: A Visual and Cultural History offers a fresh and compelling look at the great variety of artistic expression found in the African-American community. Visit www.oup.com/us/farrington for additional support material, including chapter outlines, study questions, links to artists' sites, and other resources to help students succeed.
Call Number: Sc F 19-329
Publication Date: 2016
A history of African-American artists: from 1792 to the present by A landmark work of art history: lavishly illustrated and extraordinary for its thoroughness, A History of African-American Artists -- conceived, researched, and written by the great American artist Romare Bearden with journalist Harry Henderson, who completed the work after Bearden's death in 1988 -- gives a conspectus of African-American art from the late eighteenth century to the present. It examines the lives and careers of more than fifty signal African-American artists, and the relation of their work to prevailing artistic, social, and political trends both in America and throughout the world. Beginning with a radical reevaluation of the enigma of Joshua Johnston, a late eighteenth-century portrait painter widely assumed by historians to be one of the earliest known African-American artists, Bearden and Henderson go on to examine the careers of Robert S. Duncanson, Edward M. Bannister, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Edmonia Lewis, Jacob Lawrence, Hale A. Woodruff, Augusta Savage, Charles H. Alston, Ellis Wilson, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., Horace Pippin, Alma W. Thomas, and many others. Illustrated with more than 420 black-and-white illustrations and 61 color reproductions -- including rediscovered classics, works no longer extant, and art never before seen in this country -- A History of African-American Artists is a stunning achievement.
Call Number: Sc *704-B (Bearden, R. History of African-American artists)
Publication Date: 1993
AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People by A psychedelic cornucopia on the revolutionary art collective that defined a new Black aesthetic in late 1960s Chicago AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) was founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 by a collective of young Black artists, whose interest in Transnational Black Aesthetics led them to create one of the most distinctive visual voices in 20th-century American art. The key characteristics of what we now consider the classic AFRICOBRA look--vibrant, "cool-ade" colors, bold text, shine and positive images of Black people--were essential to everyday life in the community from which this movement emerged. It is a movement with roots in the soil, streets, classrooms, studios and living rooms of the South Side of Chicago, yet its influence has extended around the world. This survey represents the first major appraisal of AFRICOBRA's work in Europe and builds on the exhibition AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People, which premiered at MOCA North Miami during Art Basel Miami 2018. Artists include: Jeff Donaldson, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Nelson Stevens and Gerald Williams.
Publication Date: 2020
South of Pico: African American artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s by Named a Best Art Book of 2017 by the New York Times and Artforum In South of Pico Kellie Jones explores how the artists in Los Angeles's black communities during the 1960s and 1970s created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism. Emphasizing the importance of African American migration, as well as L.A.'s housing and employment politics, Jones shows how the work of black Angeleno artists such as Betye Saar, Charles White, Noah Purifoy, and Senga Nengudi spoke to the dislocation of migration, L.A.'s urban renewal, and restrictions on black mobility. Jones characterizes their works as modern migration narratives that look to the past to consider real and imagined futures. She also attends to these artists' relationships with gallery and museum culture and the establishment of black-owned arts spaces. With South of Pico, Jones expands the understanding of the histories of black arts and creativity in Los Angeles and beyond.
Call Number: Sc E 17-561
Publication Date: 2017
Creating their own image: the history of African-American women artists by Creating Their Own Image marks the first comprehensive history of African-American women artists, from slavery to the present day. Using an analysis of stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans in western art and culture as a springboard, Lisa E. Farrington here richly details hundreds ofimportant works--many of which deliberately challenge these same identity myths, of the carnal Jezebel, the asexual Mammy, the imperious Matriarch--in crafting a portrait of artistic creativity unprecedented in its scope and ambition. In these lavishly illustrated pages, some of which feature imagesnever before published, we learn of the efforts of Elizabeth Keckley, fashion designer to Mary Todd Lincoln; the acclaimed sculptor Edmonia Lewis, internationally renowned for her neoclassical works in marble; and the artist Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and her innovative teaching techniques. We meetLaura Wheeler Waring who portrayed women of color as members of a socially elite class in stark contrast to the prevalent images of compliant maids, impoverished malcontents, and exotics "others" that proliferated in the inter-war period. We read of the painter Barbara Jones-Hogu's collaboration onthe famed Wall of Respect, even as we view a rare photograph of Hogu in the process of painting the mural. Farrington expertly guides us through the fertile period of the Harlem Renaissance and the "New Negro Movement," which produced an entirely new crop of artists who consciously imbued their workwith a social and political agenda, and through the tumultuous, explosive years of the civil rights movement. Drawing on revealing interviews with numerous contemporary artists, such as Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Nanette Carter, Camille Billops, Xenobia Bailey, and many others, the second half ofCreating Their Own Image probes more recent stylistic developments, such as abstraction, conceptualism, and post-modernism, never losing sight of the struggles and challenges that have consistently influenced this body of work. Weaving together an expansive collection of artists, styles, andperiods, Farrington argues that for centuries African-American women artists have created an alternative vision of how women of color can, are, and might be represented in American culture. From utilitarian objects such as quilts and baskets to a wide array of fine arts, Creating Their Own Imageserves up compelling evidence of the fundamental human need to convey one's life, one's emotions, one's experiences, on a canvas of one's own making.
Call Number: Sc F 05-31
Publication Date: 2004
St. James Guide to Black Artists by Profiles 400 prominent 20th-century artists. African American artists make up 75 per cent of the entries, while artists from the Caribbean, Africa and around the world complete this volume. A limited number of influential masters from the 19th century are represented. The guide covers artists working in visual arts, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography. Each descriptive entry provides: a concise biography; lists of both individual and group exhibitions; a listing of public galleries and museums that have the work of the entrant in their permanent collection; a bibliography of books and articles by and about the entrant; and a critical evaluation. A photograph of the artist and/or his or her work often accompanies the entry. Comments from the artists themselves regarding their work or the art precede the contributor's essay.
Call Number: JQF 15-1353
Publication Date: 1997
Black threads : an African American quilting sourcebook by One million African Americans spend approximately $118 million annually on quilting. Some believe that recent studies of oral histories telling of the role quilting played in the Underground Railroad have inspired African Americans to take up their fabric and needles, but whatever the reason, quilters like Faith Ringgold, Clementine Hunter, Winnie McQueen, and many others are keeping the African American traditions of quilting alive.This is the first comprehensive guide to African American quilt history and contemporary practices. It offers more than 1,700 bibliographic references, many of them annotated, covering exhibit catalogs, books, newspapers, magazines, dissertations, films, novels, poetry, speeches, works of art, advertisements, patterns, greeting cards, auction results, ephemeral items, and online resources on African American quilting. The book also includes primary research done by the author on the Internet usage of African American quilters, a listing of over 100 museums with African American-made quilts in their permanent collections, a directory of African American quilting groups in 29 states, and a detailed timeline that covers 200 years of African American quilting and needle arts events.
Call Number: Sc F 03-216
Publication Date: 2002
The Image of the Black in Western Art by In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector's items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones. The new edition of From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire offers a comprehensive look at the fascinating and controversial subject of the representation of black people in the ancient world. Classic essays by distinguished scholars are aptly contextualized by Jeremy Tanner's new introduction, which guides the reader through enormous changes in the field in the wake of the ?Black Athena? story.
Call Number: *R-ART N8232 .I46 2010
Publication Date: 2010
Reflections in Black: a history of Black photographers, 1840 to the present by Reflections in Black, the first comprehensive history of black photographers, is Deborah Willis's long-awaited, groundbreaking assemblage of photographs of African American life from 1840 to the present. Willis, a curator of photography at the Smithsonian Institution, has selected nearly 600 stunning images that give us rich, hugely moving glimpses of black life, from slavery to the Great Migrations, from rare antebellum portraits to 1990s middle-class families. Featuring the work of undisputed masters such as James Presley Ball, C. M. Battey, James VanDerZee, Morgan and Marvin Smith, Gordon Parks, Moneta Sleet, Jr., and Carrie Mae Weems, among hundreds of others, Reflections in Black is, most powerfully, a refutation of the gross caricature of the many mainstream photographers who have continually emphasized poverty over family, despair over hope. Recalling Roman Vishniac's Vanished World in terms of its documentary importance, and Brian Lanker's I Dream a World in terms of its exceptional beauty, Reflections in Black is not only an exceptional gift book for any occasion but also a work so significant that it has the power to reconfigure our conception of American history itself. It demands to be included in every American family's library as the record of an essential part of our heritage. Publication will coincide and tie in with a major exhibition at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, which will then travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Albany, New York; Corpus Christi, Texas; and other cities.
Call Number: MFW+ 02-7365
Publication Date: 2000
African American Art by A beautifully illustrated survey of African American art of the twentieth century, including many never-before-seen works by the most important artists of the period. African American Art presents a powerful selection of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs by forty-three black artists who explored the African American experience of the twentieth century. Embracing many universal themes and also evoking specific aspects of the African American experience such as the African diaspora, jazz, and the power of religion, the artists worked in styles as varied as documentary realism, abstraction, and postmodern assemblage of found objects. Drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s rich collection of African American art, the works include paintings by Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, Thornton Dial Sr., Romare Bearden, Alma Thomas, and Lois Mailou Jones, and photographs by Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks, Roland Freeman, Marilyn Nance, and James Van Der Zee. More than half of the artworks in the exhibition are being shown for the first time. In Richard Powell’s text, his usual keen insights into meaning and metaphor enrich the reader’s understanding of the artworks in their historical setting and contemporary culture.
Call Number: JQG 16-31
Publication Date: 2012