First Lady Mary Pat Christie unveils a Jacob Lawrence painting with Newark
Museum and Drumthwacket Foundation members during Black
History Month celebration at the Governor’s Mansion in Princeton.
TRENTON, NJ - – First Lady Mary Pat Christie unveiled the New Jersey born artist Jacob Lawrence’s famous “Clown” painting during a ceremony at Drumthwacket celebrating Black History Month. The artwork, which is on loan from the Newark Museum, will be exhibited at the Governor’s Mansion for one year.
“I’m so proud to be able to showcase the cultural and creative diversity of New Jersey through the talents of homegrown artists like the renowned Jacob Lawrence,” said Mrs. Christie. “My thanks to the Newark Museum for enabling us to share this remarkable piece of art and our Jersey Pride with all those who visit Drumthwacket.”
Born in Atlantic City, Jacob Lawrence settled in Harlem where he studied art as a teenager. His instructor, the painter Charles Alston, recognized Lawrence’s talents early on and as a result Lawrence was able to further work with his mentor in the government supported Works Progress Administration (WPA), which employed artists to create public works. It was there where he developed a unique method of detailing the African American experience in a multi-panel series format and portraying images from his community.
“Clown,” which he painted in 1963, is part of the series of colorful prints he began producing in the early 60’s. This particular painting is based on Lawrence’s childhood memories of performers from Harlem theaters such as the legendary Apollo and is a brightly colored tempera on masonite panel that depicts a vaudeville clown.
Lawrence created many other paintings during his lifetime including Harriet Tubman (1939–40) and Migration (1941). He also designed a mosaic mural that was installed in New York’s subway system in 2001.
The Drumthwacket Foundation has an active art loan program in partnership with many New Jersey museums. The program provides the opportunity to feature the works of New Jersey artists and New Jersey themed works of art to the public at the Governor’s Mansion.