Aaron Douglas


Aaron Douglas (May 26, 1899 – February 2, 1979) was an American painter, illustrator, and visual arts educator. He was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He developed his art career painting murals and creating illustrations that addressed social issues around race and segregation in the United States by utilizing African-centric imagery. Douglas set the stage for young, African-American artists to enter the public-arts realm through his involvement with the Harlem Artists Guild. In 1944, he concluded his art career by founding the Art Department at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He taught visual art classes at Fisk University until his retirement in 1966. Douglas is known as a prominent leader in modern African-American art whose work influenced artists for years to come.

Wikidata identifier


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Douglas was the leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. He was the first African-American artist to include African artifacts in his work as a way to demonstrate the continuity of African culture despite slavery.

Country of birth

United States


Artist, advertising artist, art critic, author, decorative painter, etcher, graphic artist, illustrator, lecturer, manufacturer, muralist, painter, pastelist, pen draftsman, professor

ULAN identifier



Aaron Douglas, Douglas Aaron

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed July 3, 2024.