George Barbier, né Georges Augustin Barbier, (1882–1932) was one of the great French illustrators of the early 20th century. Born in Nantes, France on 16 October 1882, Barbier was 29 years old when he mounted his first exhibition in 1911 and was subsequently swept to the forefront of his profession with commissions to design theatre and ballet costumes, to illustrate books, and to produce haute couture fashion illustrations. For the next 20 years Barbier led a group from the Ecoledes Beaux Arts who were nicknamed by Vogue “The Knights of the Bracelet”—a tribute to their fashionable and flamboyant mannerisms and style of dress. Included in this élite circle were Bernard Boutet de Monvel and Pierre Brissaud (both of whom were Barbier’s first cousins), Paul Iribe, Georges Lepape, and Charles Martin. During his career Barbier also turned his hand to jewellery, glass and wallpaper design, wrote essays and many articles for the prestigious Gazette du bon ton. In the mid-1920s he worked with Erté to design sets and costumes for the Folies Bergère and in 1929 he wrote the introduction for Erté’s acclaimed exhibition and achieved mainstream popularity through his regular appearances in L’Illustration magazine. Barbier died in 1932 at the very pinnacle of his success. He is buried in Cemetery Miséricorde, Nantes.
The paintings of Jacob Lawrence express his lifelong concern for human dignity, freedom, and his own social consciousness. His images portray the everyday reality, the struggles and successes of African American life. Using art as an instrument of protest, Lawrence aligned himself with the American school of social realism and Mexican muralist tradition.
Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Lawrence grew up in Harlem during the Depression. Harlem was an active cultural center then, and Lawrence became interested in the arts while still a teenager. He received early training at art workshops sponsored by the federal government’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Harlem and then studied at the American Artists School in New York. From 1938 to 1939, Lawrence worked in the Federal Arts Project and produced some of his earliest major works. His first important solo exhibition in 1944, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, secured his place as an important commentator on the American scene, particularly African American experiences. Lawrence died on 9 June 2000.
Benny Andrews (November 13, 1930 – November 10, 2006) was an African-American painter, printmaker, and creator of collages. During the 1950s, he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he began to take an interest in painting. In 1958, he moved to New York City to pursue artistic and activist work. Among other successes, he created art education programs to serve underprivileged students at Queens College and participated actively in the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (1969). His advocacy of artists of color Howardena Pindell, Sam Gilliam, Roy DeCarava, and others contributed to their increasing visibility and reputation in museums and the historical canon. He received many awards, including the John Hay Whitney Fellowship (1965–66), the New York Council on the Arts fellowships (1971–81), and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1974–81).
Varnette Patricia Honeywood (December 27, 1950 – September 12, 2010) was an American painter, writer, and businesswoman whose paintings and collages depicting African-American life hung on walls in interior settings for The Cosby Show after Camille and Bill Cosby had seen her art and started collecting some of her works. Her paintings also appeared on television on the Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, as well as on the TV series Amen and 227.
Fine Art reproduction of “Old Fashioned Dinner Party.” Copyright 1982, Varnette P. Honeywood. This piece portrays the wonderful times a family can have while cooking. The love that is spread throughout her brush, is shown with vivid, lively colors, throughout this artwork.
Georgia Mills Jessup (March 19, 1926 – December 24, 2016) was an African-American painter, sculptor, ceramicist, muralist, and collage artist.
Jessup, a native of Washington, D.C., was of African-American, Native American, and European descent. Her father, Joseph Mills, was a member of the Pamunkey tribe her mother was Margaret Hall Mills. The thirteenth of eighteen children, she was one of twenty-nine members of her family who followed an artistic profession. After an early display of artistic talent she was apprenticed to Herman L. Walker; two of her paintings were shown at the 1939 World’s Fair. Jessup was a 1943 graduate of Dunbar High School. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University, where she studied with Loïs Mailou Jones, in 1959, following that with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Catholic University of America in 1969. Jessup spent thirteen years teaching in the public schools of Washington, D.C., eventually becoming supervisor of art education for the system. She founded “The World is Your Museum”, forerunner of the Capital Children’s Museum, and was the first artist-in-residence at the Anacostia Community Museum. She died at home in Columbia, Maryland, and was survived by two sons and two daughters.
Jessup’s 1967 painting Rainy Night, Downtown is in the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Other works are in private collections.