EXHIBITION OF RECENT PORTRAITS OF REPRESENTATIVE NEGROES

Harlem, New York City: 1925. Original catalogue for this important exhibition, listing all 37 works on display at the 135th Street Library in Harlem beginning on March 15, 1925. Printed in blue on a 9 1/2" x 6 1/8" sheet of white cardstock, which folds to 4 3/4" x 6 1/8" (4 panels). Tiny bit of edgewear, with some mild toning to the rear panel; otherwise very good. Exceedinly scarce, OCLC locates no holdings. Offered with an original Alain Locke bookplate (4 1/2" x 5 7/8"), which was designed by Winold Reiss.

A gifted portraitist, German-born Winold Reiss (1886-1953) challenged the convention of racial stereotyping by portraying African American, Native American, and Asian American subjects as dignified individuals. This exhibition featured portraits of such prominent African Americans as Mary McLeod Bethune, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Alain Locke, Elise Johnson McDougald, and Paul Robeson, and attracted a great many visitors. Paul Kellogg, the editor of Survey Graphic, observed:

"Mr. Reiss's pastels were shown that month in the Harlem Public Library, and at the instigation of Mrs. McDougald, hundreds of Negro school children passed before them. There they saw plain people depicted, such as they knew on the street, and, also, poets, philosophers, teachers and leaders, who are the spearheads of a racial revival; forerunners, whose work might be passed on to them, men and women treated with dignity and beauty and potency altogether new. Images they could carry with them through their lives. Their pioneers!"

Dr. Alain Locke, the "Dean" of the Harlem Renaissance, called Reiss a "folklorist of the brush and palette, seeking always the folk character back of the individual, the psychology behind the physiognomy." Profoundly moved by the exhibition, he commissioned Reiss to illustrate his landmark anthology The New Negro (1925). Item #76701

Price: $3,500.00

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