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AARON DOUGLAS

michael cousins

Aaron Douglas was a leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Movement. Douglas—along with the philosopher Alain Locke, whose important 1925 anthology The New Negro featured Douglas's illustrations—helped set in motion a new visual language detached from traditional European art training and absorbing a distinctive African heritage. His style blended the geometric and angular shapes of Art Deco with the linear rhythm of Art Nouveau; it bore references to African masks and sculptural figures, as well as allusions to African dance. ...Douglas became the most sought-after book illustrator and cover designer among the black writers of the time. Probably his most controversial cover was for Carl Van Vechten's Nigger Heaven, a book about Harlem nightlife. His illustrations for James Weldon Johnson's epic poem God's Trombone, published in 1927, made him especially popular. Rendered in a painterly style, the plates formed an allegorical study of Negro experience based on the spiritual songs of oppression and daily life. Find out more @ AIGA

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