Meet at 10 AM at Le Petit Journal – 71 Boulevard Saint-Michel – 75005 Paris directly outside the Luxembourg Garden.
Lunchtime suggestion: If you bring your own lunch, you could go into the Musée du Luxembourg and see Henry Ossawa Tanner’s paintings in person during our break.
2 PM: After a morning class in the Garden, you will walk the streets and studios of Montparnasse to engage Paris’ grittier artistic neighborhood, home to many African American artists from the late 19th century through the 1930s. View the sites and discuss works by artists: No. 15 Rue Bréa (Laura Wheeler Waring), Rue Notre Dame des Champs (home to Chez Honey jazz club, and the Scandinavian School which featured Hale Woodruff, Aaron Douglas, and Augusta Savage) and No. 70 (Henry Ossawa Tanner) and William H. Johnson, Rue de la Grande Chaumière (Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Lois Mailou Jones, Herbert Gentry, Ed Clark), Rue Campagne Première (Jockey Club, Archibald Motley, and Lois Mailou Jones’ studio). Writer sites include Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Chester Himes.
- *Excerpt, Leininger-Miller, Theresa A. New Negro Artists In Paris: African American Painters and Sculptors In the City of Light, 1922-1934. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2001. [Available online]
- *James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son, (1955), Read Part III [Available online]
- *Rogers, Joel Augustus, “The American Negro in Paris,” New York Amsterdam News (September 14 and 21, 1927). [Available online]
- *Achille, Louis. “L’Art et les Noirs/ The Negroes and Art,” Revue du Monde Noir (1931) [Available online]
- *Wiggins, Edgar. “Artists Live Queer in Paris Latin Quarter,” Afro-American (May 13, 1933) [Available online]
Watch: Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro (2017). Take notes while watching the film. What reasons does Baldwin give for returning to the United States from Paris? How is this film framed? How is popular culture and film used in this documentary? Biography? How does your understanding of the Movement change from this perspective? What in this film moved you? What did you want to learn more about?
Suggested for further reading
Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Renaissance in Paris
To prepare for our inclass conversation, please read Will South’s, “A Missing Question Mark,” about Henry Ossawa Tanner, blackness, and being an American in France.
As you read, consider the following:
- How does Tanner’s race figure into how we look at his work a century later?
- How do the historical documents shape our understanding of Tanner, and how have archival resources been used in shaping our knowledge about Tanner?
- Does reflecting on the knowledge created about Tanner change how you might go about creating historical resources in this course?
- Consider Tanner’s oeuvre in the Musée d’Orsay, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the painting of Tanner’s used most in teaching African American art history:
- Musee d’Orsay
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Tanner’s The Banjo Lesson and The Thankful Poor
- Select one of the works in the d’Orsay collection and describe it. What did Tanner paint? How did he lay the paint on surfaces? What do his brushstrokes look like, and what kind of effects did he create? How does he impress spirituality into his works? How did he use and create light and light effects?
Lois Mailou Jones’s Renaissance in Paris
- To prepare for our in-class conversation: Read this interview with LMJ
- How does this interview reinforce the ideas we’ve discussed about why African American artists went to Paris?
- Consider this photograph from LMJ’s studio in Paris:
- Who is included in this photograph? What can this primary source document tell you about African American conversations and artistic exchange in Paris in the mid-twentieth century?
- Consider three of LMJ’s works in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Phillips, and Brooklyn Museum collections (painted in Paris):
- Painting 1: https://nmwa.org/explore/artist-profiles/lo%C3%AFs-mailou-jones
- Painting 2: http://www.phillipscollection.org/research/american_art/artwork/Jones-Coin_de_la_Rue_Medard.htm
- Painting 3: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/207854
- Compare and contrast these three works. How do the landscape and cityscapes differ? Does she use similar brushstrokes to convey Leigh Whipper’s portrait as she does in her landscapes? To what effect?
- Continue to edit and revise the #HarlemParisRenSyllabus so that it is ready for publication.
- Look at the website for the Musee du quai Branly and explore the “Masterpieces from Africa” section. Select and learn about one object that is on the digital exhibit. Be prepared to talk about it in class. When we are at the Branly tomorrow, you will study your selected object in person. What else did you learn from viewing the object in person?