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FREEING ART FROM WOOD: The Sculpture of Leslie Garland Bolling
Working for more appreciation of Negro Art

Freeing Art From Wood

An Ordinary Life

Few Things This Side of Heaven …

Patrons and Supporters

Working For More Appreciation of Negro Art

Spirit and Action


List of Titles

Teaching Resources

Credits and Thanks

Cover Survey, March 1925. [Harlem Mecca of the New Negro]
Cover Survey, March 1925.

About 1930 Bolling submitted work to the Harmon Foundation, which recognized contributions of African Americans in American life and which organized exhibitions of work by black artists. These exhibitions offered a venue for artists to show their work to a broader public and encouraged the public to support them by purchasing their works. Other artists who exhibited with the Harmon Foundation were Richmond Barthé, Sargent Johnson, Elizabeth Prophet, and Augusta Savage, all of whom had studied formally and whose work was critically acclaimed. Van Vechten acted as Bolling's agent in New York and showed and sold several of Bolling's sculptures to his friends.

African American artists and writers debated about what was appropriate subject matter as well as the stylistic direction of their art. Some black critics worried that African American artists had already absorbed too much of European aesthetics and argued that the artists needed to look to African art as inspiration. Alain Locke, a leading figure in the New Negro movement centered in Harlem in New York City, urged African American artists to challenge the prevailing view of American blacks as depicted in art and literature created by American whites, and to broaden their culture to develop racial pride. James A. Porter, an artist and teacher at Howard University, suggested that black artists focus their attention on facets of African American life that had been largely ignored by white artists.

The Library of Virginia >> Exhibits >> The Sculpture of Leslie Garland Bolling