Art work by Osmond Watson, CityLife 1968
Richard J. Powell is John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History at Duke University, where he has taught since 1989. He studied at Morehouse College and Howard University before earning his doctorate in art history at Yale University. Along with teaching courses in American art, the arts of the African Diaspora, and contemporary visual studies, he has written extensively on topics ranging from primitivism to postmodernism, including such titles as Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson (1991), Black Art: A Cultural History (1997 & 2002), and Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture (2008).
I initially was attracted to her story because of the fact she didn't let her personal life overshadow her career. As a working woman with children it can be difficult to find that balance. Especially, as a working African American woman in the arts during a very difficult time period. She paved the way for artists of color, women and inspired many sculptors, painters and more. Augusta Savage was an artist, educator and activist, a true Renaissance woman.
It was even discovered that Neptune Thurston taught artist, Gilbert Stuart how to paint heads and faces.**
"Art is strange-looking stuff and most people don’t understand art. Most people don’t understand my art, the art of the Negroes, because most people don’t understand me, don’t understand the Negroes at all. If everybody understand one another, wouldn’t nobody make art. Art is something to open your eyes. Art is for understanding." ~Thornton Dial