Dimensions 12 ½ in x 8 9/16 in (31.75 cm x 21.75 cm)
Credit Line Allocated by the U.S. Government
Commissioned through the New Deal art projects
Subject matter Johnson, whose mother was Cherokee and African American, stated, "It is the pure American Negro I am concerned with, aiming to show the natural beauty and dignity in that characteristic lip and that characteristic hair, bearing and manner; and I wish to show that beauty not so much to the white man as to the Negro himself." His works often show African American features, as in this calm, graceful portrait, influenced by Cubism. Lenox Avenue, the title of the piece, is known as the heart of Harlem where a great deal of music was produced by African American artists. The piano keys along the side of the figure's head, and the movement of other lines are suggestive of a complex piece of music. Johnson completed several works of art for the Federal Arts Project in San Francisco, part of the New Deal. This print was allocated to UMMA by that program.
Physical Description This is an abstract face of a figure looking to the right. The head is divided into compartments of varying textures by several straight lines. There are piano keys are on the left side of the head, and a cigarette at top left.
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