Artwork Information

  • Title:

    1920’s, The … The Migrants Cast Their Ballots

  • Artist:

    Lawrence, Jacob

  • Artist Bio:

    American, 1917–2000

  • Date:

    about 1975

  • Medium:

    Serigraph

  • Dimensions:

    32 x 24 1/4 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Lorillard, A Division of Loews Theatres

  • Object Number:

    1976.42.8

  • Display:

    Currently on Display


About the Artwork

The African American artist Jacob Lawrence was a dominant figure in the American art Movements of the 1930s and 40s, Social Realism and American Scene painting. Although he and other artists of his generation were overshadowed by the mid-twentieth century Abstract Expressionist movement, Lawrence remained active.

Lawrence’s flat, decorative, and symbolic style evidences the influences of modernism, popular art, and the semi-abstract imagery of non-Western cultures. During his career the artist executed many series of emblematic narrative painting, which portrayed significant events in the lives of African-American people including the Harriet Tubman Series, the Migration of the Negro Series, the John Brown Series, and the Builders Series.

Art historian Thomas Hess has suggested that Lawrence’s use of water-soluble tempera paint has deliberate cultural connotations. The medium reminds one of the poster paints used in grade school classrooms and evokes notions of primitive, limited resources. Thus in choosing this particular water medium, with its particular technical challenge, Lawrence has defiantly asserted his mastery over social obstacles.

The Migrants Arrive and Cast Their Ballots, was one of twelve works commissioned of twelve individual artists by the Lorillard Company for the Kent Bicentennial Portfolio. For this serigraph Lawrence chose a theme from his earlier Migration series about the movement of African Americans in the early 20th century from Southern states to the industrial cities of the North.