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Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist
Fall 2015/Winter 2016

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Blues, 1929. Oil on canvas, 36 × 42  inches (91.4 × 106.7 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie  Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago,  Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne

Archibald Motley (1891—1981) was one of the most important figures associated with the Harlem Renaissance and is best known as both a master colorist and a radical interpreter of urban culture. Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is the first full-scale survey of his paintings in two decades. The exhibition will offer an unprecedented opportunity to carefully examine Motley’s dynamic depictions of modern life in his home town, Chicago, as well as in Jazz Age Paris and Mexico. Specifically, it will highlight his unique use of both expressionism and social realism and will resituate this underexposed artist within a broader, art historical context. The exhibition will be presented in the sky-lit eighth floor galleries of the future Whitney during its inaugural year.

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is organized by the Nasher Museum at Duke University and curated by Professor Richard J. Powell. The installation at the Whitney Museum will be overseen by Carter E. Foster, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing.