The Peabody Essex Museum (pem.org) has organized the first exhibition to examine “Struggle: From the History of the American People,” the series of paintings created by the African American artist Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000).
This new project, titled “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle,” will reunite — for the first time in more than 60 years — 25 of his 30 panels depicting pivotal moments in early American history. (Five panels remain unlocated.) All emphasize the contributions that blacks, Native Americans, and women made in shaping America’s identity.
Created during the modern civil rights era, Lawrence’s thirty intimate panels interpret pivotal moments in the American Revolution and the early decades of the republic between 1770 and 1817 and, as he wrote, “depict the struggles of a people to create a nation and their attempt to build a democracy.”
The panels will be complemented by contemporary works made by Derrick Adams, Bethany Collins, and Hank Willis Thomas.
This show will travel onward to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), Birmingham Museum of Art (Alabama), Seattle Art Museum, and Phillips Collection (Washington, DC)
“Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle” is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, Massachusetts) through April 26, 2020.