In February 2024, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the groundbreaking exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism. Through some 160 works of painting, sculpture, photography, film, and ephemera, it will explore the comprehensive and far-reaching ways in which Black artists portrayed everyday modern life in the new Black cities that took shape in the 1920s–40s in New York City’s Harlem and nationwide in the early decades of the Great Migration when millions of African Americans began to move away from the segregated rural South. The first art museum survey of the subject in New York City since 1987, the exhibition will establish the Harlem Renaissance and its radically new development of the modern Black subject as central to the development of international modern art.
Featured artists include Charles Alston, Aaron Douglas, Meta Warrick Fuller, William H. Johnson, Archibald Motley, Winold Reiss, Augusta Savage, James Van Der Zee, and Laura Wheeler Waring. These artists will be shown in direct juxtaposition with portrayals of international African diasporan subjects by European counterparts ranging from Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, and Pablo Picasso to Germaine Casse, Jacob Epstein, and Ronald Moody.
A significant percentage of the paintings, sculpture, and works on paper on view in the exhibition come from the extensive collections of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Fisk University Galleries, Hampton University Art Museum, and Howard University Gallery of Art. Other major lenders include the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, with pending loans from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The exhibition will include loans from significant private collections and major European lenders.
The exhibition is made possible by the Ford Foundation, the Barrie A. and Deedee Wigmore Foundation, and Denise Littlefield Sobel.