In this painting by Jacob Lawrence, a busy street corner of Harlem is depicted in grey and red tones.

Jacob Lawrence

American, 1917–2000

Harlem Street Scene, 1942

Gouache on paper

22¼ x 22¾ inches

Signed and dated lower right

 

SOLD

Completed a year after Jacob Lawrence’s career-making series The Migration of the American Negro, this work depicts the community that had been the artist’s home since 1930. Lawrence poignantly depicts a neighborhood going about its daily business: vendors peddle fruit and flowers, children jump rope, men play checkers, and movers hoist a piano. On the rooftops, other sorts of activities occur: a drunken man lies asleep on one building, and a group of men play craps on another. Residents peer out their windows onto the world below. Writers of the time described the vitality and the sense of community in Harlem, despite the harsh living conditions inhabitants often encountered. Lawrence masterfully conveys that spirit in this wonderful street scene.

In this painting by Jacob Lawrence, a busy street corner of Harlem is depicted in grey and red tones.