We Speak:

Black Artists in Philadelphia, 1920s-1970s

September 2015 - January 2016

Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia

John Dowell
John Dowell

Untitled 1967, China ink, graphite, and ink on paper, 35"x46"

Barkley Hendricks
Barkley Hendricks

"JSB III" (detail), 1968, oil on canvas, 48" x 34.5," Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Louise Clement-Hoff
Louise Clement-Hoff

"Josie - Seated Woman" 1970s, oil on canvas, 67.5"x55"

Charles Jay
Charles Jay

"Floral Still Life" 1977, oil on canvas, 21"x17"

John Mosley
John Mosley

Protest against Philadelphia Transportation Company Hiring Practices, Nov. 8, 1943.

John Mosley
John Mosley

Pearl Bailey, Actress, 1940, 10"x8"

Barbara Bullock
Barbara Bullock

"Dark Gods," 1982, acrylic on canvas, 72" x 72"

Laura Williams Chassot
Laura Williams Chassot

"Exploration" 1973, acrylic on canvas, 34"x36"

We Speak investigates the work of fifty Philadelphia-area artists of African descent from the New Negro Movement of the 1920s to the height of Black Power in the 1970s, exploring the degree to which these artists were either supported or neglected by the city’s cultural institutions. Art schools, academies, museums, galleries, social clubs and religious organizations all play a significant role in the story, as do intimate art circles and initiatives that provided opportunities for professional development. The exhibition tells a story of relationships that extended deeply and broadly, woven from network upon network of artists and their colleagues, mentors, protégés, champions, and audiences.

 

We Speak seeks to expand the understanding of why art communities were built, and how they helped create the conditions necessary for artists to thrive in the many pockets of the city’s art scene. Fourteen oral histories, published in the accompanying catalog, shaped our understanding of these developments and in many cases determined the specific works selected for display.

We Speak, Woodmere Art Museum

Henry Ossawa Tanner, James Brantley, Barkley Hendricks, Meta Warrick Fuller, Barbara Chase-Ribaud

Donald E. Camp, chromium-intensified gelatin silver prints, 5"x7"

Catherine M. Kuch Gallery

Louise Clement-Hoff; Walter Edmonds; Richard J. Watson; Moe Brooker

Sam Brown, Deborah Williis

Catherine M. Kuch Gallery