Charles White (American, 1918-1979)
lithograph, Sheet: 40.50 x 30.20 cm (15 15/16 x 11 7/8 inches). John L. Severance Fund 2001.50
The lithograph's title and the anxious expressions of the couple communicate a loss of faith and a pessimistic outlook while the angular, chiseled features of the figures reflect the influence of African sculpture. In 1925 the African American philosopher Alain Locke published The Legacy of Ancestral Arts, which encouraged artists of color to look at the rich African sculptural tradition-which, he noted, had already influenced European modernism-in order "to create an art that would add a new dimension to Black America's cultural identity."
Raised in Chicago, White visited his parents' native South in 1942-43. The trip was "one of the most stirring and educational experiences of his life since in the South he learned to understand the beauty of the Negro's speech, his folklore and poetry, his dances and music."