Lois Mailou Jones (1905-1998) Untitled (Musical Instrument), N.D. casein on scratch board, 23 x 28 inches.


Born in 1905 in Boston, Massachusetts.

As a young artist, Lois Mailou Jones spent a pivotal year in Paris. She painted "night and day" and met artists and jazz musicians of the 1930s scene. Upon returning to the States, Jones continued to work and exhibit her paintings despite the inherent racism and sexism of the day. She met Alain Lock, the Rhodes scholar and poet, who criticized her paintings, asking her to take account of her African ancestry. He wrote in 1939, "We expect from the Negro artist a vigorous and intimate documentation of Negro life itself." Soon after, Jones changed her imagery to incorporate African iconography and eventually include a range of cross-cultural imagery: French, African, Caribbean, American, and African-American.

Jones also dedicated a large part of her life to teaching. A legacy of grateful students remains, among them Elizabeth Catlett, who is also represented in this show.

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