Lawrence's `Migration' settles in D.C. museum

Art of blacks' journey north on display at Phillips

May 07, 2008|By Karen Houppert | Karen Houppert,Special to The Sun

In 1941, 23-year-old Harlem-based artist Jacob Lawrence completed a haunting series of paintings depicting the mass migration of African-Americans that occurred between the two world wars when almost 1 million moved from the rural South to the industrial North. Called The Migration Series, the entire work is on display at Washington's Phillips Collection through Oct. 26.

The project was hugely ambitious for a young painter. It consists of 60 separate tempera paintings, each of which is captioned to form a corresponding historically accurate narrative. To create the work, the artist received a small fellowship from a philanthropic fund that allowed him to rent a studio in New York City, where he had enough space to lay out the 60 panels.

If you go The Great American Epic: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series runs through Oct. 26 at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. N.W., Washington. Ticket prices vary. Call 410-547-SEAT or go to phillipscollection.org

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