The influential art of Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas was a powerful figure of the Harlem Renaissance with his stunning visual art. We observed the art that garned him the accolade of ‘father of Black American art’.

aaron douglas

Aaron Douglas was an African-American artist who became a significant part of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s. His work included illustrations and paintings depicting the racism and segregation suffered in the US.

In 1922, he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and worked as an instructor at Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri before his talent came to the attention of important people in Harlem, New York. Two years after gaining his fine arts degree, he left his teaching job for New York at the behest of Charles S. Johnson, the first Black president of Fisk University.

He went onto become one of the most influential artists of the era and returned to teaching in 1944, when founded the Art Department at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He taught visual art there until his retirement in 1966.

Recommended reading and viewing

Below is a video about one of Aaron Douglas’s most beautiful pieces, “Aspiration”.

A beacon of hope, Aaron Douglas's Aspiration
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