Jacob Lawrence Lecture

Blue in Green: Viridian & Jacob Lawrence
Chandler Auditorium, Harn Museum of Art

Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History, Duke University

“I don’t stress subject matter,” the renowned American artist Jacob Lawrence revealingly wrote, “I stress understanding the abstract elements and being aware of what you can do with them.” By following Lawrence’s line of thinking in this statement and focusing on something as commonplace, multi-valenced and, yet, as potentially enigmatic as color, this talk explores how Lawrence’s singular use of color – specifically the modern, blue-green color known as viridian – and his idiosyncratic forms and compositions offer a systematic entryway into his art and, in concert with his assorted themes and subjects, a more nuanced understanding of his paintings.