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Jacob Lawrence: The Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series of Narrative Paintings

May 4–June 30, 1991

The Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence and owned by the Hampton University Museum in Virginia, are presented together in their entirety for the first time in this exhibition, which opens at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 4, 1991. Jacob Lawrence (born in 1917) has attracted a wide audience throughout his career with colorful paintings of everyday life, social strife, and history of African-Americans. In the late 1930s, Lawrence painted two series of pictures depicting scenes from the lives of the 19th-century African-American heroes Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, marked by brilliant color, simplified form, and extraordinary conceptual unity. Each panel depicts a significant event in the life of the legendary figure and is accompanied by a narrative caption written by the artist. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Ellen H. Wheat.


Hampton University Museum, Virginia


University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
Baltimore Museum of Art
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington
Art Institute of Chicago
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

Main Building


Ellen Harkins Wheat
Ann Temkin

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