ISBN: HB: 9780300267105

Yale University Press

February 2023

384 pp.

27.9x22.8 cm

279 colour illus.



Beauty Born of Struggle

The Art of Black Washington

A collection of illustrated essays highlights the works of influential Black artists from Washington, DC, from the 1920s to the present.

In a twentieth century during which modern art largely abandoned beauty as its imperative, a group of Black artists from Washington, DC, made beauty the center of their art making. This book highlights these influential artists, including David C. Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones, and Alma Thomas, in the context of what Jeffrey C. Stewart describes as the Washington Black Renaissance. Vibrant histories of key District institutions and the city's communities of educators, critics, and collectors animate a nuanced consideration of the evolution of an aesthetic dialectic from the 1920s up to the present day. The 15 essays in the volume are grounded by voices from a live artist panel at the National Gallery of Art in 2017, which included Lilian Thomas Burwell, Floyd Coleman, David C. Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Keith Morrison, Martin Puryear, Sylvia Snowden, and Lou Stovall.

About the Author

Jeffrey C. Stewart is professor of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a winner of a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.