The Wedding

Wedding of a couple. Minister in black, bride in red, groom in black with a wall of flowers in red, purple, and yellow behind them. Witnesses look on from the sides.
© 2018 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • Wedding of a couple. Minister in black, bride in red, groom in black with a wall of flowers in red, purple, and yellow behind them. Witnesses look on from the sides.

Date:

1948

Artist:

Jacob Lawrence
American, 1917–2000

About this artwork

“I paint the things I have experienced,” Jacob Lawrence stated. Raised in Harlem, Lawrence studied at various federally funded community cultural centers and art workshops, where his talent was quickly recognized. The young artist soon applied his bold, unique style to the creation of narrative cycles devoted to African American history, leaders, and life. His sixty-panel Migration series (1940–41), depicting the resettlement of blacks from the rural South to the industrial North in the first half of the twentieth century, debuted in 1941 at the prestigious Downtown Gallery in New York. This exhibition bought national attention to the artist, then only in his early twenties. The cycle was acquired later by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.

In addition to his various series, Lawrence also executed individual genre scenes, such as The Wedding, throughout his long career. With its bright, flat colors, bold patterning, and economical yet suggestive forms, this vibrant composition shows a bride and groom, flanked by two attendants, standing before a stern-faced minister. This arrangement makes us, like the attendants, participants in a major life event. Befitting both the solemnity and joy of a wedding, the composition combines the symmetrical rigidity of the standing figures with a riotous profusion of intensely colored stained-glass panels and flowers. The Wedding demonstrates well what one writer described as Lawrence’s unwavering commitment “to make his subject a testament, an expression of his belief in [humanity’s] continuing strength.”

On View

American Art, Gallery 262

Artist

Jacob Lawrence

Title

The Wedding

Origin

United States

Date

1948

Medium

Egg tempera on hardboard

Inscriptions

78.7 x 88.9 cm (31 x 35 in.)

Dimensions

50.8 × 61 cm (20 × 24 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Mary P. Hines in memory of her mother, Frances W. Pick

Reference Number

1993.258

Copyright

© 2018 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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 .

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