Famous Black Artists & Painters

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 1 
Edmonia Lewis
(First African-American and Native American Sculptor to Achieve International Prominence)
Edmonia Lewis
4
Birthdate: July 4, 1844
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rensselaer County, New York, United States
Died: September 17, 1907

Edmonia Lewis was an American sculptor who worked in Rome for most of her career. The first African-American sculptor to gain international prominence, Lewis was also the only Black female artist to have participated and recognized by the American artistic mainstream until the end of the 19th century. Molefi Kete Asante included Lewis in his 100 Greatest African Americans list.

 2 
Jay Pharoah
5
Birthdate: October 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chesapeake, Virginia, United States
 3 
Patrisse Cullors
6
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
 4 
Jacob Lawrence
4
Birthdate: September 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Died: June 9, 2000

A master of what he called dynamic cubism, 20th-century American painter Jacob Lawrence experimented with a variety of media, such as tempera, cardboard, and paper.  His narrative painting consisted of scenes from Black history. The Migration of the American Negro remains one of his best creations.

 5 
Larry D. Alexander
(Visual Artist Best Known for His Elaborate Pen-and-Ink Drawings and Crosshatching Technique)
Larry D. Alexander
4
Birthdate: May 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dermott, Arkansas, United States
 6 
Henry Ossawa Tanner
(The First African-American Painter to Gain International Acclaim)
Henry Ossawa Tanner
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: May 25, 1937
 7 
Faith Ringgold
3
Birthdate: October 8, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Harlem
 8 
Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr.
(Father of three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali and Rahman Ali)
Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr.
0
Birthdate: November 11, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: February 8, 1990
 9 
Elizabeth Catlett
(Best known for her depictions of the Black-American experience in the 20th century)
Elizabeth Catlett
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: April 2, 2012
 10 
Kerry James Marshall
(American Artist and Professor, Known for His Paintings of Black Figures)
Kerry James Marshall
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States

Kerry James Marshall is an American professor and artist renowned for his artworks and paintings of Black figures. His work has inspired and influenced contemporary artists like Hank Willis Thomas. In 2017, he was mentioned in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people. Marshall has also taught at prestigious institutions like the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

 11 
Theaster Gates
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
 12 
Charles Alston
(Painter, Sculptor, Artist, Muralist, Teacher)
Charles Alston
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Charlotte
Died: April 27, 1977
 13 
Ernie Barnes
(Artist)
Ernie Barnes
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina, United States
Died: April 27, 2009
 14 
El Anatsui
(Sculptor)
El Anatsui
3
Birthdate: 1944 AD
Birthplace: Anyako, Volta Region, Ghana
 15 
Theodosia Okoh
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Effiduase, Gold Coast
Died: April 19, 2015
 16 
Clementine Hunter
(Folk Artist)
Clementine Hunter
4
Birthdate: 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States
Died: January 1, 1988
 17 
Horace Pippin
(Painter)
Horace Pippin
6
Birthdate: February 22, 1888
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 6, 1946
 18 
Ben Enwonwu
(Painter)
Ben Enwonwu
2
Birthdate: July 14, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria
Died: February 5, 1994
 19 
Bill Traylor
(Artist)
Bill Traylor
2
Birthdate: April 1, 1854
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Benton, Alabama, United States
Died: October 23, 1949
 20 
Wangechi Mutu
(Visual artist, known primarily for her painting, sculpture, film, and performance work)
Wangechi Mutu
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya
 21 
Martin Puryear
(Sculptor who works in media including wood, stone, tar, and wire)
Martin Puryear
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 22 
David Drake
(Potter and poet)
David Drake
2
Birthdate: 1800 AD
Birthplace: United States
Died: 1870 AD
 23 
Richmond Barthé
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1901
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 5, 1989
 24 
Kwadwo Nkansah
(Ghanaian Singer and Comedian)
Kwadwo Nkansah
2
Birthdate: April 15, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kumasi, Ghana

Though he dropped out of school at standard 6, Ghanaian singer Kwadwo Nkansah, also known as Lil Win, later soared to fame as a musician, comedian, and actor. His own inability to complete his education made him establish the Great Minds International School in Ghana later.

 25 
Jerry Pinkney
(Illustrator)
Jerry Pinkney
0
Birthdate: December 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
 26 
Thornton Dial
2
Birthdate: September 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Emelle, Alabama
Died: January 25, 2016
 27 
Gwendolyn B. Bennett
(Former artist, writer, and journalist who contributed to Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life, which chronicled cultural advancements during the Harlem Renaissance)
Gwendolyn B. Bennett
2
Birthdate: July 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Giddings, Texas, United States
Died: May 30, 1981
 28 
Jayne Cortez
2
Birthdate: May 10, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fort Huachuca, Arizona
Died: December 28, 2012
 29 
Palmer Hayden
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Widewater, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 18, 1973
 30 
Roy DeCarava
(Artist)
Roy DeCarava
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: October 27, 2009
 31 
Hale Woodruff
(American Artist Known for His Murals, Paintings, and Prints)
Hale Woodruff
2
Birthdate: August 26, 1900
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cairo, Illinois, United States
Died: September 6, 1980

Best known for his Amistad Mutiny murals, Hale Woodruff was raised singlehandedly by his working mother after his father’s death and thus took to drawing to spend time by himself. He later grew up to be a Black art icon and established the Atlanta Annuals to encourage African-American artists.

 32 
Magdalene Odundo
1
Birthdate: 1950 AD
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya
 33 
Joseph Yoakum
1
Birthdate: February 22, 1890
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ash Grove, Missouri, United States
Died: December 25, 1972
 34 
Ray Styles
(Pencil artist)
Ray Styles
2
Birthdate: January 31, 1988
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ghana
Died: October 1, 2020
 35 
Gwendolyn Knight
0
Birthdate: May 26, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bridgetown, Barbados
Died: February 18, 2005
 36 
Malangatana Ngwenya
1
Birthdate: June 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Portuguese Mozambique
Died: January 5, 2011
 37 
Romuald Hazoumè
0
Birthdate: February 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Porto-Novo, Benin
 38 
Piero del Pollaiolo
1
Birthdate: 1443 AD
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: 1496 AD
 39 
William Edmondson
1
Birthdate: 1874 AD
Birthplace: Davidson County, Tennessee, United States
Died: February 7, 1951
 40 
Grafton Tyler Brown
1
Birthdate: February 22, 1841
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 2, 1918
 41 
Ade A. Olufeko
(Designer, technologist, and entrepreneur primarily active in Lagos)
Ade A. Olufeko
0
Birthdate: March 22, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
 42 
Ouattara Watts
0
Birthdate: 1957 AD
Birthplace: Ivory Coast
 43 
John Muafangejo
0
Birthdate: October 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Angola
Died: November 27, 1987
 44 
Eldzier Cortor
1
Birthdate: January 10, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died: November 26, 2015
 45 
Tavares Strachan
(Conceptual artist)
Tavares Strachan
0
Birthdate: December 16, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nassau, Bahamas
 46 
Ollie Harrington
(Cartoonist)
Ollie Harrington
1
Birthdate: February 14, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Valhalla, New York, United States
Died: November 2, 1995
 47 
Jim Gary
(Sculptor)
Jim Gary
1
Birthdate: February 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sebastian, Florida, United States
Died: January 14, 2006
 48 
Aïda Muluneh
(Photographer)
Aïda Muluneh
1
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 49 
Paul Ahyi
(Credited with designing of the flag of Togo)
Paul Ahyi
0
Birthdate: January 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Abomey, Benin
Died: January 4, 2010
 50 
Ramón Esono Ebalé
(Illustrator and comics artist)
Ramón Esono Ebalé
0
Birthdate: November 22, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Micomeseng, Equatorial Guinea