Charles White

Biography

Charles White’s aspirational artworks chronicled the African American experience during the 20th century. White’s work depicted American American life during the Civil Rights Struggle; he believed that art occupied a central position in the movement and worked to advance its ideals. He was particularly renowned for his use of printmaking and murals to reach a wider audience. White created what he called “images of dignity,” uplifting the African American community and making its history and struggles visible. 

White was born in Chicago in 1918 and attended the Art Institute of Chicago despite being rejected from several other art schools on the basis of his race. In addition to his work as a painter, White was also a gifted teacher and a leader in his community. After moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s, he took up a position teaching at the Otis Art Institute, where David Hammons, and Kerry James Marshall were among his students. Considered one of the leading figures of post-war black figuration, his oeuvre was celebrated in a major travelling retrospective in 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and The Art Institute of Chicago. 

 

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