Watercolor on paper
frame: 20 x 16 3/8 in.
Born in 1918, Charles White was a painter with important contributions to the Harlem Renaissance and Social Realism periods in America. Much of his work focuses on the African American experience, rendered through nonviolent images in a time of mounting racial injustices and tensions. He was well known for his murals and his social activism. White’s Untitled watercolor from his 1934 sketchbook in the collection of the AD&A Museum demonstrates his nuanced yet colorful approach to his work. In 1938, White was hired by the Illinois Art Project a state affiliate of the Works Progress Administration. His work received extended showings at the Chicago Coliseum during the Exhibition of the Art of the American Negro which was part of an exposition commemorating the 75th anniversary of Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery. White is best known for the mural illustrating The Contribution of the Negro to Democracy in America installed at Hampton University, a private historically black university in Hampton, Virginia. Painted in 1943, the egg tempera mural covers an 18 foot by 12 foot space on the walls of Clarke Hall and is a celebration of African American historical figures and also highlights the black community’s struggle for equality in all facets of life. These include but are not limited to Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, and George Washington Carver.
Gift of Eileen and Peter Norton
WHITE, Charles, “WHITE, Charles,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed October 5, 2022, http://art-collections.museum.ucsb.edu/items/show/4710.