By Olive Jensen Theisen
John Thomas Biggers (1924-2001) used to be a huge African American artist who encouraged numerous others via his educating, work of art, work, and drawings. After receiving traditional paintings education at Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania kingdom, he had his own and creative step forward in 1957 while he spent six months within the newly self sustaining kingdom of Ghana. From this time ahead, he built-in African summary parts together with his rural Southern photos to create a private iconography. His new method made him well-known, as his own discovery of African history slot in good with the turning out to be U.S. civil rights circulation. he's most sensible recognized for his work of art at Hampton college, Winston-Salem college, and Texas Southern, however the drawings and lithographs that lie at the back of the work of art have obtained scant awareness - beforehand. Theisen interviewed Dr. Biggers over the past 13 years of his lifestyles, and was once welcomed into his studio innumerable instances. jointly, they chose consultant works for this quantity, a few of that have now not been formerly released for a basic viewers. After his demise in 2001, his widow persevered to paintings heavily with Theisen, leading to a ebook that's intimate and informative for either the student and the coed.
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11 In 1952, John submitted another drawing to the fifth Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Once again, he received a letter informing him that his drawing, Sleeping Boy (1952) (ﬁg. 21)12 had won the Neiman-Marcus Prize for drawing, and was invited to Dallas to accept the award the following Sunday at the museum. John and Hazel drove up from Houston, but upon meeting the couple, the committee quickly presented the award to John in the parking lot.
29 The two following drawings are good examples of Biggers’s clear approach to the form of the ﬁgure. The memory of his own experience brought him to reﬂect on the injustices of the life of the sharecropper in the South. He saw that many families were doomed to a lifetime of hard labor and endless poverty. Harvesters I (1947) (ﬁg. 11) eloquently depicts that reality. Working on brown cardboard with conté crayon and gouache, Biggers caught those exhausted workers in sculptural relief form, almost as if they had been fashioned from a sheet of copper.
8 John Biggers often produced a number of drawings on the same theme. As an example, this drawing (ﬁg. , signed. Reproduced courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York collection. It is signed and dated 1950, and has been very seldom shown. We might guess that this drawing followed the prize-winning drawing. Perhaps this was a replacement for the one kept by the museum for the purchase prize. Our eyes are drawn to the infant burrowing into the safety of the mother’s arm. The warmth and tenderness expressed in these two drawings are unequalled in his works on love.
A Life on Paper: The Drawings And Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers by Olive Jensen Theisen