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Funeral Sermon

Jacob Lawrence

American Art

One of the first nationally recognized African American artists, Jacob Lawrence came to maturity in Harlem in the 1930s—a dynamic milieu marked by the great cultural achievements of the Harlem Renaissance, yet also by racism and the Great Depression. Throughout his long career, Lawrence devoted himself to painting genre scenes of working-class black life and epic series about African American history. Displaying the abstracted design elements and vibrant colors that characterize Lawrence’s style, Funeral Sermon commemorates the death of his sister from tuberculosis in 1944. An expression of personal grief, this work also addresses larger social issues, including the importance of spirituality in the black community—notice how Lawrence unifies the congregation in the foreground through the repetition of geometric forms—and the overcrowded housing and inadequate health-care facilities in Harlem that led to disease and untimely death.
MEDIUM Watercolor and graphite with some varnish on heavy, textured wove paper
DATES 1946
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 29 3/8 x 21 1/8 in. (74.6 x 53.7 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower right: "Jacob Lawrence 1946 ©"
COLLECTIONS American Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 48.24
CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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CAPTION Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917-2000). Funeral Sermon, 1946. Watercolor and graphite with some varnish on heavy, textured wove paper, Sheet: 29 3/8 x 21 1/8 in. (74.6 x 53.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 48.24. © artist or artist's estate
IMAGE overall, 48.24_bw_IMLS.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (85%)
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