A Pioneer Gallerist

jacob lawrence

Jacob Lawrence “The Music Lesson,” from the “Harlem Series,” 1943. Credit The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; New Jersey State Museum.

In 1926, Edith Gregor Halpert (1900-1970), an émigré from Ukraine, opened the Downtown Gallery on West 13th Street. It was the first gallery in Greenwich Village and she was the city’s first female gallerist… Horace Pippin, Stuart Davis, Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keeffe were among the many others she showed. Intent on reaching everyday people and selling them art — on the installment plan if needed — Halpert was looked down on by male dealers.
(Roberta Smith, “Modernism Reboots at the Museums — Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art,” NYTimes, 9-13-19)

Ms. Halpert gave African-American artist Jacob Lawrence his first show, “the famed ‘Migration’ series.” I’m drawn to his painting called “The Music Lesson” (1943) for the contrast between the extremely stylized figures of teacher and pupil and the meticulous depiction of the piano and the music they are playing.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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