The Spencer Museum of Art at Kansas University has announced the acquisition of "The Founding of Chicago," a significant work by Aaron Douglas, a black artist from Kansas who went on to be the most important visual artist of the Harlem Renaissance.
The work was painted between 1930 and 1933. An allegorical representation of the role that blacks played in the economic and physical development of Chicago, the painting shows a laboring man and an enchained mother beholding an urban vista.
"I am thrilled by the addition of this important Aaron Douglas work to the Spencer museum collection," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said in a statement. Hemenway is known for his biography of writer Zora Neale Hurston, a cohort of Douglas'. "The Founding of Chicago' is powerful and provocative, and it demonstrates why this native Kansan is considered the leading visual artist of the Harlem Renaissance."
With the acquisition of "The Founding of Chicago," the museum is organizing a four-city national tour. Opening in September 2007 at the Spencer museum, the traveling exhibition will also have venues in Nashville; Washington, D.C.; and New York, and will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue edited by Susan Earle, the exhibition curator.