The Prodigal Son (Primary Title)

Aaron Douglas, American, 1899 - 1979 (Artist)

Educational
after 1927
American
oil on canvas
United States
Unframed: 26 × 18 1/2 in. (66.04 × 46.99 cm)
Framed: 32 × 24 11/16 in. (81.28 × 62.71 cm)
2012.278
Not on view
Aaron Douglas is regarded at the leading visual artist of the Harlem Renaissance as well as the first black artist to create a distinctive modernist style that connected contemporary African Americans with their African heritage. The Prodigal Son, which has all the hallmarks of Douglas’s signature approach, evokes one of his most important collaborations – eight gouache “accompaniments” to James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, a collection of free-verse poems inspired by folk sermons of southern black preachers. The painting directly relates to this award-winning 1927 publication for which Douglas produced related works, including versions of the same subject in different media.
Modern; Harlem Renaissance
signed A Douglas on verso
Two labels: June Kelley label; James Swope Fine Arts Art Conservation, INC./314 Flamingo Drive/ West Palm Beach, FL. 33401/Tel: 561-833-2862/ISFAC# 09.029.1
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
Aaron Douglas: African American Modernist, New Haven and London: Yale University Press in assoc. with Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, 2007), 60-62, ill.; and Richard J. Powell, "Paint that Thing: Aaron Douglas's Call to Modernism," American Studies 49 (Spring/Summer 2008): 107-119, ill.
©artist or artist’s estate

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