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Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas research papers focus on this famous African American artist and can be custom written to look at any aspect of his life or art.

Painter Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) was a significant figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The Harlem Renaissance was a major artistic flowering of African Americans in the New York neighborhood, part of the "New Negro" movement that witnessed African Americans reclaiming a unique and equal culture to that of white America. Movements in jazz music and literature, represented by Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, represented artistic triumph. Aaron Douglas is the father of African American art.

Aaron Douglas - The Early Years

Douglas was born in Topeka, Kansas, developing an interest in art at a young age. In 1922, he graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and settled in Harlem three years later. It was there that he began illustrating for major black magazines, including The Crisis and Opportunity. In addition to this magazine work, Douglas illustrated books and produced murals and canvas paintings.

Douglas' most important work is considered to be a series of murals he completed at Fisk University and the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library. In his art, Aaron Douglas combined many African elements, including:

  • Ancient Egyptian elements of art
  • West African aspects of color

In combining these elements with traditional European art styles, he created semi-abstract works often full of geometric shapes and bands of bright colors. In 1940, Douglas moved to Nashville, where he founded Fisk University's art department, heading it for the next 27 years.

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