The unique and inimitable African-American artist Jacob Lawrence is featured in a huge new show opening this weekend at Washington's Phillips Collection called "Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence."
An Atlantic City, N.J., native, Lawrence moved to Harlem at the height of the pre-war Harlem Renaissance, and soon became a powerful force in the cultural manifestations of the struggle for racial equality and human rights.
He was a bold painter with a hard, sharp edge, and the 200 works in this show make some telling polemical statements.
In one painting, "Vaudeville" (1951), two Black comedians serve as models for the mid-century white community's view of Black entertainers. Lawrence's 1962 "American Revolution" is just as pointed.
"Over the Line" closes Aug. 19 at the Phillips, 1600 21st St. just off DuPont Circle; telephone 202-387-2151; Web site www.phillipscollection.org.