Modern Black Culture: The Art of Aaron Douglas

April 22, 2022 - June 19, 2022

Silhouette painting of people dancing while musicians play

Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) was one of the leading African American modernists associated with the Harlem Renaissance. His paintings, murals, book covers, and illustrations form a powerful body of work with a Utopian vision of the future. His dynamic Art Deco-like forms, starkly silhouetted figures, and reduced color palette combine into an immediately recognizable style. The Ackland is fortunate to have a rich and varied collection of works on long-term loan from a North Carolina-based collector, ranging from drawings for illustrations and a sketchbook to items of applied art and a little-known version of one of his major compositions, Building More Stately Mansions. To this core group will be added major works in other collections in the state, including the Wilson Special Collections Library at UNC-Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and others.

This exhibition is curated by John Bowles.

Image credit: Aaron Douglas, American, 1899-1979, Untitled, 1929, ink on paper, 16 x 18 1/2 in. (40.6 x 47 cm). L2013.24.10.