Robert Gwathmey: Civil Rights

11 Dec

Robert Gwathmay is one of the earliest white artist to represent African American figures in a compassionate light. Though he references symbols of ignorance and stereotype as a means to permeate progressive attitudes toward civil rights in America. His venture into Social Realist painting began through the influence of his wife’s work, Rosalie, who documented a series of southern blacks through painting and photography. This motivated Gwathmay to live and work at a tobacco farm after receiving the Rosenwald Fellowship where he immersed himself in southern life. His works promoted social justice through the 1940’s-50’s, exposing the distorted lack of equality between black citizens and the white majority.

Rosalie GwathmeyMan Plowing and Scarecrow, 1940

Rosalie Gwathmey
Man Plowing and Scarecrow, 1940

Robert Gwathmey, Custodian, 1963 Work featured in the Schiller Collection at the Columbus Art Museum
Robert Gwathmey, Custodian, 1963
Work featured in the Schiller Collection at the Columbus Art Museum

Robert Gwathmey, End of Day, 1944

Robert Gwathmey, End of Day, 1944

Robert GwathmeyTobacco Farms, 1944

Robert Gwathmey
Tobacco Farms, 1944

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