II

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

James Lesesne Wells

Sisters, 1929

Linocut on paper

8.5" x 6.75"


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Sisters

Sisters is typical of James Wells's early linoleum-cut illustrations, many of which he created for African American journals such as The Crisis and Opportunity, which were the main arteries of the New Negro intellectual movement. Wells's 1929 Sisters is among the many works of that era that he indicated were inspired by African and Egyptian art. Sisters depicts the heads of two virtually identical "modern" black women in contrasting fashionable hats against the backdrop of a rhythmic circular motif. This combination of black subject matter and exoticized Art Deco style reflects the essence of "New Negro" as a participant in modern culture on his/her own terms and captures the flavor of that moment in history known as the Harlem Renaissance.   A. L. C.

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