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The Harlem renaissance art borrowed heavily from post impressionism. The African American community came to understand that it was their time to flourish as human beings. This is usually referred to as the period of enlightenment for the African American artists and the people. This essay seeks to discuss the Harlem renaissance basing on the two prominent figures, Richmond Barthe and Aaron Douglas. It compares and contrasts their early life, their education and their contribution in the Harlem renaissance.
Richmond Barthe was born in bay St Louis, Mississippi. This was on January 28, 1901. His father was sr. Richmond Barthe and his mother Marie clementine Robateau. His mother sewed to support the family and his father died when he was only a year old. His mother later remarried to Barthe’s godfather, William franklin. William had no stable job and he worked odd jobs to sustain the family. This included being the icemen to the local community. Interestingly, Barthe’s interest in art developed at a very tender age. Barthe himself mentions that his mother would keep him calm through giving him a piece of paper to draw on. This would allow the mother enough time to run the house errands (Schulman & Peter, 2009 p123). At the age of six years, Barthe began to paint after the master the mum sewed for gave him a set of water colors. At this age, Barthe could draw well.
When Barthe was a teenager, his art was overdeveloped for his age. Most of his paintings captured his father’s ice customers and his mother’s sewing customers. Luckily as he helped his father in delivering ice during the summer, one of the customers noticed the hardship and helped him get a job in New Orleans (Black, 2009 p234). This family encouraged his art and as he worked as a houseboy, Barthe furthered his talent in art. It was around this time that Barthe met Lyle Saxon. This was a writer for the New
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