9 Famous Black Painters You Should Know

133Simmie Knox (Aug. 18, 1935)

Knox is the first African-American painter to create a presidential portrait in 2004. Before becoming a standout portrait artist in the 1980s, he taught art education for many years. Then he became a full-time professional. He has painted Frederick Douglass, Bill Cosby, Hank Aaron, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, among many others.

Knox's most famous work  is the presidential portrait of Bill Clinton revealed in 2004.

Knox’s most famous work is the presidential portrait of Bill Clinton revealed in 2004.

 

artist_19Jacob Lawrence (Sept. 7, 1917 – June 9, 2000)

Lawrence was a painter who rose to prominence during the Great Depression. While employed by the Public Works Administration federal art program, he began to contribute 30-plus paintings in his “Migration” series. This series of paintings jump-started his career and made him the first African-American painter to join the Edith Halpert’s Downtown Gallery in 1942.

This is Panel 58 of Lawrence's Migration Series completed in 1941-42. The series documented the movement of Black folks from the south to the north.

This is “Panel 58” of Lawrence’s “Migration” series completed in 1941-42. The series documented the movement of Black folks from the South to the North.

 

213Horace Pippin (Feb. 22, 1888 – July 6, 1946)

Pippin was an extremely talented painter who served in World War I as a Harlem hellfighter in France. In combat, he was shot in the arm, and the wound eventually led to his right arm becoming unusable. He overcame that by using both hands to paint. Pippin is most known for his work in the 1940s: “Domino Players” (1943),  “Harmonizing” (1944), and “Christ and the Woman of Samaria” (1940).

Domino Players was created in 1943.

“Domino Players” was created in 1943.

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