The Complete Jacob Lawrence: Over the Line:

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by: Michelle DuBois

This two-volume set, including Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence and Jacob Lawrence: Paintings, Drawings, and Murals (1935-1999), A Catalogue Raisonne, is the definitive publication on the work of artist Jacob Lawrence. The result of six years of research by the Jacob Lawrence Catalogue Raisonne Project, led by Peter T. Nesbett and Michelle DuBois, the books identify, authenticate, and document over 900 paintings, drawings, and murals created by Jacob Lawrence between 1935 and 1999―over half of them discovered by the project. Over the Line includes essays by eight distinguished art historians considering the ways in which Lawrence’s art speaks so powerfully to different audiences and examining for the first time the breadth and depth of his output.

Intimate in scale and bold in content, Lawrence’s candid portrayals of life in Harlem during the Depression and his epic multi-panel series painted in the late 1930s and early 1940s are the cornerstones of his aesthetic production. His paintings, drawings, and murals depict both critical moments in history and poignant struggles of everyday life. The subject matter ranges from unforgiving portrayals of racial injustice to compassionate scenes of family life, from unnerving images of nuclear annihilation to visual celebrations of such heroic individuals as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. His use of the series format and his attention to pressing social issues accord him a unique position in the history of American modernism.