III

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

David C. Driskell

Boy with Birds, 1953

Oil on canvas

23.5" x 29.5"


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Boy with Birds

As an artist/scholar and educator, David C. Driskell has mentored and served as a role model for young artists and art historians for more than forty years. As Driskell's students are fortunate to benefit from the compassionate leadership of a renowned artist and scholar, Driskell himself benefited from the support of mentors James A. Porter and James V. Herring, as well as Loïs Mailou Jones and Morris Louis at Howard University, and with much success carries on their legacy today.

After spending the summer of 1953 at Skowhegan studying under Social Realist artist Jack Levine, Driskell became interested in commenting on African American life and urban culture. When he returned to Howard University, he embarked on a series of social realist paintings entitled City Quartet. One of the four works from the series, Boy with Birds is a nocturnal urban scene in which the use of light and color reveal a sense of beauty in the otherwise tragic street life of children. The use of outlining and jewel tones found in Boy with Birds is the beginning of a design interest in stained glass that has recently culminated in sixty-five stained-glass windows designed by Driskell for the DeForest Chapel at Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama.   A. L. C.

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