Richard Bruce Nugent
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
A dancer and performer himself, Richard Bruce Nugent had a deep affinity for the expressive possibilities of the human body in motion. In this striking image, he depicted dancers and plants as flat, stylized forms rendered in black silhouettes. In the mid-1920s, inspired in part by African art, several artists of the Harlem Renaissance embraced a silhouette aesthetic. As suggested in a verse of Nugent’s poem “Shadow” (1925), the silhouette also had personal significance for the artist, who was African American:
A silhouette am I
On the face of the moon
Or vivid brightness
But defined all the clearer
Because I am dark
Black on the face of the moon.
Black ink and graphite on moderately thick, moderately textured, cream colored wove paper
14 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (37.5 x 26.7 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Dr. Thomas H. Wirth, gift of Frederick J. Adler, by exchange, bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange, and gift of Abraham Walkowitz, by exchange
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Richard Bruce Nugent (American, 1906-1987). Dancing Figures, ca. 1935. Black ink and graphite on moderately thick, moderately textured, cream colored wove paper, 14 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (37.5 x 26.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Thomas H. Wirth, gift of Frederick J. Adler, by exchange, bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange, and gift of Abraham Walkowitz, by exchange, 2008.50.6 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008.50.6_PS2.jpg)
overall, 2008.50.6_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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