Palmer Hayden, Jeunesse, no date, watercolor on paper, 14 x 17 inches, collection of Dr. Meredith F. Sirmans, NY. This and works by many other artists the Harlem Renaissance were influenced by their enjoyment of jazz, an often improvisational musical form developed during the 1920s by African Americans and influenced by European harmonic structure and African rhythmic complexity. Jazz can be identified by its characteristic blues rhythms and distinctive speech intonations. Harlem has long been an important center for jazz. Palmer Hayden could have seen such dancing as this at the Savoy, which was Harlem's most famous jazz club.
The angular grace of Blackberry Woman speaks of stoicism and constancy. The subject—an African American woman in a simple dress who is balancing a basket on her head—is one Barthé may well have seen on market day as a boy growing up in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. But she is more than an echo of an image once observed. She has the frontal, linear form found in West African sculpture, which Barthé first saw in Chicago, in an exhibition during The Negro in Art Week in November 1927, when he was a student at the School of the art institute of Chicago.
The title, Resting, coupled with the man's bare feet and everyday clothes, suggest that he is taking a momentary break from farm work. Although his eyes are hidden by a red hat, his face is attentive as he regards the unseen viewer. The palette of ochres, blues, reds, and greens and the loosely brushed shapes of his body and the landscape behind him are liberally laid down with a palette knife. Although Clark was born in Georgia, where his father worked as a tenant farmer, his family was part of the great migration of African Americans who moved from rural southern towns to the urban North in the 1920s.
"As I Grew Older" Langston Hughes by Ben Soares
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""As I Grew Older" Langston Hughes." SoundCloud. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
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