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Lois Mailou Jones

(1905—1998)


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(1905–98).

Painter. Adept in several styles varying from direct realism to stylized near abstraction, she is known particularly for such paintings as Les Fétiches (Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1938), a dynamic, cubistic arrangement of five African masks, combining modernist expression with subjects from her racial heritage. From 1930 until she retired in 1977, she taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C. A native of Boston, she studied for four years there at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. While spending the summer of 1934 in New York to study at Columbia University, she increased her involvement with the Harlem Renaissance and with African art. During the academic year 1937–38, she studied in Paris and traveled through Italy. In the early years of her career, she worked in an accomplished impressionist style, which gave way to interest in cubism and other forms of modernism. During the 1940s she concentrated on scenes of African-American life. Following marriage in 1953 to Haitian artist Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noel, she frequently employed colorful, flattened patterns to depict blacks in his homeland, as well as in Africa following a 1969 visit of several months. Jones often returned to France to depict picturesque vistas, and in her last years she renewed an early interest in idyllic nature subjects. She died at her Washington home.

Subjects: Art — United States History.


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