Jacob Lawrence: The Legend of John Brown
Jacob Lawrence created The Legend of John Brown, his fifth series of history paintings in gouache, in 1941. In 1974, the Detroit Institute of Art, which owns the original paintings, commissioned Lawrence to produce an edition of screen prints of the series, which he completed in collaboration with Ives-Sillman, Inc. (New Haven, Conn.) in 1977. The Davis presents the full print portfolio, purchased in 2015, for the first time.
With a style inspired by modern art, African art, print journalism, and popular film, Lawrence explained why he worked in series: “I wanted to tell a lot of things. This was the only way I could work and tell the complete story.” The artist carefully researched John Brown, combining written scholarship with oral history and popular culture surrounding the white abolitionist icon. Brown advocated for violent uprisings, and he was executed for his failed insurrection at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in 1859. A popular Civil War song memorialized him, and he remained a folk hero among African Americans for generations. In the 1930s and 1940s, African American artists, intellectuals, and political leaders made pilgrimages to Harper’s Ferry and to his grave, while white historians of the time often dismissed Brown as an insane radical. Previous painters had romanticized and sanitized his antislavery crusade. Lawrence instead explored the complexity of Brown’s biography, providing Brown’s lifelong fierce Christian piety as context for his militant devotion to the abolition of slavery during the last 22 years of his life. Curated by Amanda Gilvin, assistant curator.
The exhibition is supported by the Marjorie Schechter Bronfman ’38 and Gerald Bronfman Endowment for Works on Paper.
Museum purchase, The Nancy Gray Sherrill, Class of 1954, Collection Acquisition Fund 2015.62.6
© 2018 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Reproduction, including downloading of Jacob Lawrence works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Copyright Approved Artists Rights Society.
Sep 22–Dec 8, 2 PMDrop-in Public Tours
The Davis Museum offers guided tours to public groups during open hours. Specially-trained Student Guides engage visitors with the Davis’s distinctive permanent collections and special temporary exhibitions.Event Date:Repeats every week every Saturday until Sat Dec 08 2018 except Sat Oct 06 2018, Sat Nov 24 2018.Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, September 29, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, October 13, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, October 20, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, October 27, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, November 3, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, November 10, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, November 17, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, December 1, 2018 - 2:00pmSaturday, December 8, 2018 - 2:00pm
Dec 1–Dec 16, 11 AM–5 PMThird Annual Davis Holiday Frame and Print Sale
An annual Davis tradition! Stop by the Davis Museum lobby to find a cool frame for a photograph, or pick up a print or poster for holiday gift-giving.Event Date:Repeats every day until Sun Dec 16 2018.Saturday, December 1, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmSunday, December 2, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmMonday, December 3, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmTuesday, December 4, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmWednesday, December 5, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmThursday, December 6, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmFriday, December 7, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmSaturday, December 8, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmSunday, December 9, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmMonday, December 10, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmTuesday, December 11, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmWednesday, December 12, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmThursday, December 13, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmFriday, December 14, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmSaturday, December 15, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pmSunday, December 16, 2018 -11:00am to 5:00pm
Nov 13, 4–5 PM
Sep 1–Aug 31Windows Invitational
This new invitational program at the Davis is designed to engage artists in transforming the dramatic expanse of floor-to-ceiling, ground-level windows that articulate the lobby of our signature Rafael Moneo building and its courtyard plaza.Event Date:Saturday, September 1, 2018 (All day) to Saturday, August 31, 2019 (All day)