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American Negro Art book review

Review relating to a publication, 1961
Published by: The Studio
Year published: 1961
Number of pages: 2

image of American Negro Art book review

Published in 1961, this review of Cedric Dover’s book American Negro Art was written by Clifford Wright. (It appeared in The Studio magazine, Vol. 161, No. 813, January 1961, pages 28/29) and followed directly on from Wright’s appreciation of American painter Jacob Lawrence on the two preceding pages of the same publication. The review was overwhelmingly positive and began with, “Cedric Dover’s picture book, with an intelligent, informative, and passionate text, is a moving work and a much needed one. In presenting American negro artists comprehensively, indeed exhaustively, the bitter is presented with the better, as the case would be in any group that were comprehensively covered. But even the bitter is interesting in this case, for the subject does have both sociological and human interest as well. And the good painters of the group are certainly comparable to any first-rate [white] American or [white] European painters.”

Dover’s book was an important work for a number of reasons, including the ways in which it embellished a hitherto limited amount of scholarship on African-American art (James Porter’s Modern Negro Art being the most significant publication dedicate to the visual arts that preceded Dover’s work.) Wright’s review referenced several artists, namely Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Beauford Delaney and the perhaps lesser-known Charles Sepree. Wright’s review ends with an eager anticipation of the sorts of more in-depth scholarship and comprehensive surveys of African-American art that were to become relatively commonplace by the closing years of the 20th century.

“The scholarly and careful text still abounds with modest remarks about just scratching the surface, and anticipation of augmented studies in the field. But to most readers inside U.S.A., and certainly outside, too, the book fulfils all expectations one might reasonably hold. There are sensible introductory chapters with titles that intrigue at first sight and themes that expand vivaciously and with touching fervour. It leaves the reader wanting to read more negro poets and writers, as well as wanting to see a comprehensive exhibition of the works of American negro artists.”

The review was accompanied by a full page colour reproduction of Jacob Lawrence’s Ambulance Call, no date given


Related people

»  Beauford Delaney

Born, 1901. Died, 1978

»  Cedric Dover

Born, 1904 in Calcutta, India. Died, 1961

»  Jacob Lawrence

Born, 1917 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Died, 2000

»  Horace Pippin

Born, 1888 in Pennsylvania. Died, 1946

»  Charles Sebree

Born, 1914. Died, 1985