Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas 1899-1979

Aaron Douglas is an artist that inspires me. A graphic artist and painter, Douglas is known as the foremost visual artist of the Harlem Renaissance. His work brought together American and international modernism with African-American life. He is known for his large-scale murals that allegorically portray African-American historical figures and contemporary life. I appreciate the manner in which he combined modernist forms and African motifs to portray African-American life and struggles.

Among my favorite Douglas work is the “Aspects of Negro Life” Mural series. The series consists of four panels: Song of the Towers, From Slavery Through Reconstruction, An Idyll of the Deep South, and The Negro in an African Setting. Through the use of a muted color palette, and the referencing of African and African-American symbolism and traditional art forms, Aaron Douglas was successful in capturing the energy and concerns of the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary African-American life.