Archibald Motley at Whitney

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A late beautiful Sunday afternoon I decided to visit the Whitney Museum. Not knowing what is showing or what  I want to see I stumbled upon Archibald Motley’s exhibition on the Eight floor of the new Whitney Museum New York City. The exhibition examined Motley’s dynamic depictions of modern life in his home town, Chicago, as well as in Paris and Mexico, highlighting the artist’s unique use of both expressionism and social realism.This was the age of a new modernism in music: the Age of Jazz.

The following paintings are my favorites. It summarizes for me his greatness of his time in history. The afternoon was an enjoyable  experience.



“So sublime, so heartrending are the accent of jazz that we all realize that a new form is needed for our mode of feeling…We shall have to respond to this summons from the darkness, and go out and see what lies behind this overwhelming melancholy that calls from the saxophones”  – Paul Morand novelist



Bronzeville became his primary artistic inspiration. Bronzeville gleams under the supernatural glow of street lamps, neon signs, and other artificial lightings suggestive of both the encroachment of modernity and illicit after-hours activities.







I noticed distortion of faces all in his group paintings. The faces are not as detailed as the other parts of the painting



Arrival at Chickasaw Bayou of the Slaves of President Davis, c.1938

He was a master colorist and a radical interpreter of urban culture.

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist from October 2, 2015 – January 17, 2016


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