Aaron Douglas, painter
by Aaron Douglas (1899 - 1979),"the father of black American art"
"Building More Sately Mansions.1944"Represents the progression of cultures and civilizations from the dawn of recorded history to the present.
On the upper left, Africa is symbolized by a Pyramid and a Sphinx with a Dan mask profile. Several towering columns cover the range of all civilizations: temple, pagoda, skyscraper..
In the foreground, Africans-Americans working in agriculture, construction, science and industry.
The final figure is the use of concentric circles of light, hightlighting a mother or teacher with two young children and a globe.
This technique of layering shows the knowledge of Cubism: Literal Transparency.
|"The head was in perspective
in a profile flat view, the body, shoulders down to the waist turned half
way, the legs were done also from the side and the feet were also done in
broad... never toward you... perspective. I got it from the Egyptians."
(Interview of Douglas by L.M.Collins,July 1971 - Black Oral Histories)
|"... to remind
each new generation to look back on, face up to, and learn from the greatness,
the weaknesses and failures of our past with the firm assurance that the
strength and courage certain to arise from such an honest and dutiful approach
to our problems will continue to carry us on to new and higher levels of
(Interview of Douglas by Jacqueline Fonvielle-Bontemps, 1971 - "The Life and Work of A. Douglas : A Teaching Aid for the Study of Black Art" - master's thesis, Fisk University)