Monday, May 23, 2011

John N. Robinson

"Mr and Mrs Barton",1942 39x 31" oil on canvas
Collection of Clark Atlanta University

John N. Robinson (1912- 1994) was born in 1912.
He was known for his realistic paintings of urban landscapes, church murals, and portraits of family and friends. He was a primarily self taught art artist. Robinson did study briefly for a semester with artist James A Porter at Howard University 1929. From the 1930's Robinson worked as a full-time cook while supporting and raising his family of six, all the while pursuing his passion of painting. Through out his career he received awards and accolades for his work exhibiting in Negro and integrated exhibitions. Through his exhibitions he earned recognition for paintings through out the Washington D.C area. He still remains virtually overlooked in the art world outside of D.C. In 1994 he passed away at 82 years of age.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

William Arthur Cooper

"My Dad" 1931 30x 24" oil on canvas, Collection of North Caroilina Central Unirversity Art Musuem

William Arthur Cooper ( 1895- 1974 ) was born North Carolina. He was a self taught painter, a minister and teacher. Cooper specialized in portraits. He received his religious schooling at National Religious Training School ( now North Carolina Central University) in Durham .

Cooper believed that the burlesque, sensationalized images American Negros, then was so so prevalent, were both cause and effect of poor race relations. A program of arts education combining realistic portraiture, sympathetic biography, and honest conversation, he argued, could Negros and whites imagined one another and thus ultimately how they interacted.

During the Depression Cooper painted a series of African American worthies and common folk. Cooper subjects where his native Carolinians. He strove to capture broader truths about contemporary Negro life. By refusing to paint Negros and southerns as gross caricatures and by rendering his friends, and neighbors at repose, he achieves a realism that was radical and documentary.

He lectured and displayed his work through out the 1930's. In 1936 he published a book of essays and portraits, A Portrail of Negro Life. The book embodied his ideals how through arts education might help interracial relations. He also received recognition and acclaim from his portraiture and organized the North Carolina's first African American art exhibition . Through out his career he remained true to his calling as a minister. He was a Pastor at the Clinton Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in Charlotte, NC.

( this contain exerts from Alexander Byrd in To Conserve A Legacy )