Norman Lewis US, 1909-1979


"The goal of the artist must be aesthetic development, and in a universal sense, to make in his own way some contribution to culture."


- Norman Lewis

Bridging the Harlem Renaissance Social Realism and Abstract Expressionism as a critical figure. Lewis was one of several Black artists commissioned by the WPA to decorate the Harlem Art Center and taught art through the Federal Arts Project at the Harlem Community Arts Center (1936-1939) Deriving inspiration from  jazz and classical music and from nature were as essential to his beliefs that each artist had a right to determine how he should paint. Lewis ceased painting Social Realist works in the early 1940s because he found the style was not effective to counter racism. He saw abstraction as a strategy to distance himself from racial artistic language, as well as the stereotypes of his time. Thus Abstraction proved an important means to both artistic freedom and personal discovery.