The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism

  • Jun 1 - Jun 30
  • The Met Fifth Avenue
Photo credit: William H. Johnson (American, 1901–1970). Woman in Blue, c. 1943. Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Permanent Loan from the National Collection of Fine Art

In February 2024, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the groundbreaking exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism. Through some 160 works of painting, sculpture, photography, film, and ephemera, it will explore the comprehensive and far-reaching ways in which Black artists portrayed everyday modern life in the new Black cities that took shape in the 1920s–40s in New York City’s Harlem and nationwide in the early decades of the Great Migration when millions of African Americans began to move away from the segregated rural South. The first art museum survey of the subject in New York City since 1987, the exhibition will establish the Harlem Renaissance and its radically new development of the modern Black subject as central to the development of international modern art.

Featured artists include Charles Alston, Aaron Douglas, Meta Warrick Fuller, William H. Johnson, Archibald Motley, Winold Reiss, Augusta Savage, James Van Der Zee, and Laura Wheeler Waring. These artists will be shown in direct juxtapostion with portrayals of international African diasporan subjects by European counterparts ranging from Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, and Pablo Picasso to Germaine Casse, Jacob Epstein, and Ronald Moody.

A significant percentage of the paintings, sculpture, and works on paper on view in the exhibition come from the extensive collections of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Fisk University Galleries, Hampton University Art Museum, and Howard University Gallery of Art. Other major lenders include the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, with pending loans from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The exhibition will include loans from significant private collections and major European lenders.

The exhibition is made possible by the Ford Foundation and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Additional support is provided by the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, the Enterprise Holdings Endowment, the Aaron I. Fleischman and Lin Lougheed Fund, and The International Council of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The catalogue is made possible by the Mellon Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Denise Littlefield Sobel and Robert E. Holmes.

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