A few weeks ago, the arts department at the Nasher Museum at Duke University invited Hillside students, along with a few other high school students, to the premiere of the Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist exhibit.
The exhibit was created and organized by Richard J. Powell, a professor of art and art history at Duke. Powell’s goal is to bring recognition to one of the major contributors to the Harlem Renaissance, Archibald John Motley Jr.
Motley was born in New Orleans, Louisiana but lived and worked in Chicago for most of his life. He was one of the first classically trained African American artists of the 20th century.
He had a way of bringing his portraits to life.
In the exhibit, there are portraits of Motley’s family and friends, Brownsville Street club scenes, paintings of his time spent in Paris, as well as other experiences from the various places he traveled.
One of my favorite paintings is a portrait of Motley’s grandmother.
The painting looked so realistic I felt as if I was seeing her in person. Another favorite of mine is of a woman who was “one-eighth black.”
This really showed just how talented Motley was as a painter and how he could capture all shades of skin color.
One of Motley’s most famous quotes is, “I don’t paint black people, I paint colored people.”
In the paintings he had a variety of shades of white and black people.
Motley had a true talent for capturing images as they really are.
How do I see the exhibit?
*Location: Nasher Museum on the Duke campus
*Time: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. *Dates: Jan. 30- May 11