Jacob Lawrence Biography
Birthday: September 7, 1917 (Virgo)
Born In: Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Jacob Lawrence was an African-American painter, educator, and storyteller. Best remembered for his portrayal of African-American life, he is regarded as one of the most popular African-American painters of the 20th century. He also served as the professor of art at the prestigious University of Washington from 1971 until his retirement in 1986. The son of southern migrants, Lawrence moved with his mother to Harlem following his parents’ divorce when he was 13. He discovered his love of art while participating in community art workshops. After dropping out of school at the age of 16, he continued practicing art and attended Harlem Art Workshop where he got encouragement from Charles Alston. In 1938, Lawrence displayed his first solo exhibition at the Harlem YMCA. He earned national recognition when he was 23 with his ‘60-panel Migration Series’. During his later years, he contributed to a variety of media forms, including book illustrations, large-scale murals, and silkscreen prints. As of today, his works have been displayed in numerous museums, including Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and Philadelphia Museum of Art. On a personal note, Lawrence was married to painter Gwendolyn Knight until his death in 2000.