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The Card Game
19" x 23.5"
Tempera on board
1953

Jacob Lawrence’s The Card Game depicts a group of four card players, two men and two women, seated around a red table wearing embellished garments and looking deeply engaged in their game. This scene is framed by an arch of white curtains, and the brilliant light that illuminates from within the group is similar to card playing scenes from Northern Renaissance artists like Caravaggio and Adam de Coster. Lawrence, like Sargent Claude Johnson, was inspired by Mexican muralists, particularly José Clemente Orozco, who employed vivid colors and expressive figures in his works. The Card Game falls within Lawrence’s greater body of work, which highlights scenes in and around his Harlem neighborhood in the 1950s, giving vibrant glimpses into social gatherings.