Charles Alston: 12 interesting facts

By Gwylym Owen

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Charles Henry Alston (November 28, 1907 – April 27, 1977) was an American painter, sculptor, illustrator, muralist and hypothetical who lived and worked in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Alston was responsive in the Harlem Renaissance; Alston was the first African-American proprietor for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. Alston meant and painted murals at the Harlem Hospital and the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building. In 1990, Alston’s bust of Martin Luther King Jr. became the first image of an African American displayed at the White House.

Art critic Emily Henauer said that Allston “refused to be put in one spot” with regard to his varied explorations in his works of art. Throughout his long career, Allston remained an art student, responding to contemporary artistic and historical events and introducing new approaches to his work. Alston graduated in fine arts in 1929 and continued his studies at the College of Education at Columbia University, where he became increasingly interested in African art and aesthetics. During his studies, Allston worked at the Utopia Orphanage and began teaching at the Harlem Community Arts Center (now the Harlem Community Center for the Study of Black Culture).

Alston and his colleagues refused to perform only with black performers because they thought it was a form of discrimination. Bearden was actively involved in the civil rights movement, which influenced Alstom who appreciated his art.

During World War II, Alston served as an artist in the Office of War Information, served in the US Army, and served on the Board of Directors of the National Mural Association. In 1934, Alstom co-founded Harlem Art Studio, a center of African American artists and intellectuals in Harlem. In 1936, the Work Progress Office/Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP, 1935-43) appointed New York artist Charles Alston (1907-77) as the first African-American to oversee the New Deal mural project people. In the late 1940s, Alston participated in a mural project commissioned by Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, which required artists to create works related to African American contributions to California settlements.

During the 1930s, the WPA Federal Art Project commissioned Allston to paint murals for the Harlem Hospital. Later, during World War II, the Office of War Information hired Allston to publish a series of drawings in black newspapers. In 1950, Allston entered the abstract painting competition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, won first prize and received $ 1,500 from the Metropolitan for a painting.

His artistic talents began to flourish and he entered the National Academy of Arts. However, his talent did not go unnoticed, and he was later awarded the Arthur Wesley Doe Fellowship, which funded his student work at Columbia Teachers College. In 1931 he received his master’s degree from the College of Education at Columbia University. After graduating from university in 1929, he took the risk of pursuing a master’s degree from a teacher training college.

Allston was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1958. Allston attended DeWitt Clinton High School, taught there, and graduated from Columbia University in 1929. After the Civil War, he was educated and graduated from St. Augustines College. Roles. … … He lived and worked in Harlem all his life and was an active participant in the Harlem Renaissance.

He oversaw the WPA murals created at Harlem Hospital and managed a staff of 35 artists and assistants. While there, Allston and fellow artist Augusta Savage founded the Harlem Artists Guild with the goal of increasing equality in WPA art programs and funding more black artists. During this time, Alston, along with Savage and Elba Lightfoot, founded the Harlem Artists Guild to work to promote equality in WPA art programs in New York.

Alston, who calls himself a “skater artist,” embraced abstraction, but never completely abandoned the figurative. Allston’s connection with Alain Locke and the New Blacks Movement began during his graduate years.

During his studies at New York University, he taught at Harlem Community Art Center and Harlem Art Studio. He created murals for Harlem Hospital, Golden State Mutual Bank, American Museum of Natural History, 154 Public Schools, Bronx Family and Criminal Court, and Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York. It also helps bridge the gap between African artists and other American artists. At a deeper level, he is a bridge between black artists in various fields and other Americans.

Throughout his brilliant career as an artist and educator, he has been dedicated to maintaining and exploring ethnic identity and its complex influence. Inspired by the modern idioms of Modigliani and Picasso and African art, Alston’s works deal with the personal and social aspects of the black experience. Alston himself was inspired by the modern languages ​​of Modigliani and Picasso, as well as African art.

Allston and his art student and cousin Romare Bearden (right) discuss one of his paintings in 1944. When Alston’s widowed mother married Harry Bearden, Alston met the painter Romar Bearden, who was his stepfather’s cousin. It was here that Allston received his first oil paints and became acquainted with the art salons of his aunt Bessie Burdens, whose regular visitors were both the Duke of Ellington and Langston Hughes.

He was a magazine illustrator in the 1930s and early 1940s; he painted important murals for Harlem Hospital in New York in 1936; he was a personal artist in the War Information and Public Affairs Bureau during World War II; he became the first black teacher of the Art Students League in 1950 He taught there until 1971; became the first black instructor of the Museum of Modern Art in 1956; and became a professor at the City College of New York from 1970 to 1977. Charles Henry Alston (1907-1977; Columbia College 1929, School of Education 1931) was an influential artist during the Harlem Renaissance and the number one in the Office of Work Progress An African American person in charge. Charles Henry Allston combines contemporary art styles with non-Western influences to create a novel and unique African-American idiom. He is the visual art creative community of Harlem (New York) One of the leading figures.

Many of Alston’s works have been featured in the New Yorker, Fortune and Colliers magazines. Charles also worked for the school magazine Columbia Daily Spectator and Jester, where he drew cartoons. After experimenting with the Architecture Preparation and Medicine Preparation programs at Columbia University, Charles opted for the Fine Arts program.

Allston Sr. was born a slave in the United States and later became the founder of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. Charles Allston was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1907 to the Reverend Primus Priss Allston and Anna Elizabeth Miller Allston. Charles Henry Allston was born on November 28, 1907 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charles Henry Allston (November 28, 1907-April 27, 1977) was an American painter, sculptor, illustrator, muralist, and teacher. He lived and worked in Harlem, New York City. Work. He is best known for his sculptures created by Martin Luther King in the 1970s and installed in the White House in 1990.

His works belong to important institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art; Rhapsodies in Black is a traveling exhibition in the 1990s, which is an important part of the art of Harlem during the two world wars. Retrospective evaluation, which includes an overview of his career. Charles Alston’s work is collected by the Butler School of Art, National Portrait Gallery, Harlem Studio Museum, and Whitney Museum of Art. Charles Alston’s work is in the collection of Butler College of Art in Youngstown, Ohio. , National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Harlem Studio Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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