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Library Series: The Schomburg
26" x 20"
Gouache on paper
1986

American painter Jacob Lawrence is best known for depicting narratives of the daily lives and activities of Harlem in his imagery. Lawrence moved to Harlem at the age of 13; it was there that he witnessed the poverty and prejudice most African Americans faced in the early 20th century. However, it was also where he was exposed to the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. Subsequently, the vibrant energy of this movement radiates from the canvases created by Lawrence. In Library Series: The Schomburg, Lawrence has captured the motion and liveliness of a library that he most likely spent numerous hours in during his childhood. Within the image, each figure in the canvas is immersed in their reading materials, engaged in an activity.