Collections Selections: Jacob Lawrence
October 13, 2018 - March 3, 2019

The centerpiece of this exhibition is a five-panel work by Jacob Lawrence, an internationally renowned painter who lived in Seattle and taught as an art professor at the University of Washington. He was also a member of the Washington State Arts Commission. Lawrence was one of the first black visual artists to focus on African American history as the subject matter of his art. 

In 1972, the state of Washington invited Lawrence to create a work. He chose to paint five panels presenting a historical narrative about George Bush, a black pioneer who, in 1844, co-founded the first permanent settlement in what is now Tumwater, Washington. Items from the late 1800s and early 1900s that belonged to the Bush family, photographs and negatives showing Bush family members, and the commission letter to Lawrence from the state will also be exhibited.

For the sake of preservation, these paintings are rarely on view. This is a terrific opportunity to see this work by the remarkable Jacob Lawrence, learn more about the artist and the story of George Bush.

Image credit: Jacob Lawrence, No. 3. The hardest part of the journey is yet to come--the Continental Divide, stunned by the magnitude of roaring rivers (detail), 1973, casein tempera and gouache, 31½ × 39½ inches, series piece. Collection of Washington State Historical Society. Image use courtesy ARS.