Skip to Content
Today Open today 10–11 members | 11–5 public

Harvest Talk

Black charcoal drawing of two field workers with scythe.
© The Charles White Archives Inc.

Image actions

  • Black charcoal drawing of two field workers with scythe.




Charles White
American, 1918-1979

About this artwork

Charles White is recognized for the richness of his graphic work and his paintings, which typically depict aspects of the history, culture, and life of African Americans. A native of Chicago, White attended the School of the Art Institute, the Art Students League of New York, and later the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico. Beginning in 1939, he was employed by the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration.

White’s father was a railroad and steel worker and his mother was a domestic worker; this inspired in White a deep respect for labor. Harvest Talk, one of six charcoal and carbon pencil drawings originally exhibited at ACA Galleries in New York in 1953, exemplifies the artist’s mature drawing style. Here his strong, assured manner, coupled with the heroic proportions of the figures and the emphasis on the large scythe (an emblem often associated with the Soviet Union)—as well as the social realist sensibilities that prevail throughout his oeuvre, his travels to the Soviet Union, and his writings for and affiliation with left-wing publications such as Masses and Mainstream, Freedomways, and the Daily Worker—suggest that Harvest Talk was inspired by socialist ideals. Like many of White’s works on paper, it conveys the power of a mural despite its relatively small format.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Charles White


Harvest Talk


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Charcoal, Wolff's carbon drawing pencil, and graphite, with stumping and erasing on ivory wood pulp laminate board


66.1 × 99.2 cm (26 1/16 × 39 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Hartman

Reference Number



© The Charles White Archives Inc.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions