Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series



The MoMA in New York will show all the 60 paintings of ‘The Migration Series’ next year.

The pictures are a selection out of The Migration Series.







Jacob Lawrence’s ‘The Migration Series’ (1940-1941), a sequence of 60 paintings, depicts the mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North between World War I and World War II – a development that had little previous attention.
Lawrence (1917-2000) spent months distilling the subject into captions and preliminary drawings and preparing 60 boards with the help of his wife, artist Gwendolyn Knight. He created the paintings in tempera, a water-base paint that dries rapidly. To keep the colors consistent, Lawrence applied one hue at a time to every painting where it was to appear, requiring him to plan all 60 paintings in detail at once.
The series was a subject of a solo show at the Downtown Gallery in Manhattan in 1942, making Lawrence the first black artist represented by a New York gallery. Interest in the series was intense. Ultimately The Philip Collection and the MoMA agreed to divide it, with The Philips buying the odd-numbered paintings.