Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman


In February 2024, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the groundbreaking exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism. Through some 160 works, it will explore the comprehensive and far-reaching ways in which Black artists portrayed everyday modern life in the new Black cities that took shape in the 1920s–40s in New York City’s Harlem and Chicago’s South Side and nationwide in the early decades of the Great Migration when millions of African Americans began to move away from the segregated rural South. The first survey of the subject in New York City since 1987, the exhibition will establish the Harlem Renaissance as the first African American–led movement of international modern art and will situate Black artists and their radically new portrayals of the modern Black subject as central to our understanding of international modern art and modern life.

Augusta Savage is one of the artists in this exhibition
Gamin, 1929
This article is first published July 19, 2019



Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman
Until July 28, 2019, New York Historical Society





Artist Augusta Savage (1892–1962) overcame poverty, racism, and sexual discrimination to become one of America’s most influential 20th-century artists. Her sculptures celebrate African American culture, and her work as an arts educator, activist, and Harlem Renaissance leader catalyzed social change. This exhibition explores Savage’s lasting legacy through her own work and that of the younger artists she inspired, including Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000), Gwendolyn Knight (1913–2005), and Norman Lewis (1901–1979). Through more than 50 works of art and archival materials, it illuminates Savage’s artistic vision, as well as her profound impact on her students and her community.
Explore our new exhibition catalogue, Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman, a timely, visual, exploration of the fascinating life and lasting legacy of sculptor Augusta Savage (1892-1962), who overcame poverty, racism, and sexual discrimination to become one of America’s most influential twentieth-century artists.

SCAD Savannah – Spring 2017 – Exhibitions – Permanent Collection Documentation – Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art – Augusta Savage – “Gwendolyn Knight” – 1934-1935; cast 2001 – bronze copy of plaster original – 18 ½ x 8 ½ x 9” – Photography by Kevin Wells

Gwendolyn Knight,1934-1935, photography by Kevin Wells

The harp Harp, 1939

SavagePortraitHeadofJohnHenry c1940

Head of John Henry, c. 1940

Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman is curated by Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D. and organized by the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sotheby’s Prize. It is coordinated at New-York Historical by Wendy N. E. Ikemoto, Ph.D., associate curator of American art. Important support provided by Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr., Andrew and Howard Marks, and Agnes Gund. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.