New York

Augusta Savage, The Harp, 1939, bronze, 10 3⁄4 × 9 1⁄2 × 4". Souvenir replica.

Augusta Savage, The Harp, 1939, bronze, 10 3⁄4 × 9 1⁄2 × 4". Souvenir replica.

Augusta Savage

New-York Historical Society

In the company of Jacob Lawrence’s streamlined Cubism, Romare Bearden’s faceted and collaged surfaces, and William Ellisworth Artis’s sleek, softly Egyptianized terra-cotta figures, the physiognomically expressive and convincing portrait busts of Augusta Savage (1892–1962) gave her the bearing of an éminence grise in “Renaissance Woman”—the first survey in thirty years devoted to the pathbreaking sculptor, educator, and arts advocate. Curator Jeffreen M. Hayes placed examples of Savage’s limited surviving production alongside works by these and many other artists who benefited from her guidance and her example, among them Selma Burke, Gwendolyn Knight, and Norman Lewis.

The show, which was originally mounted at the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, Florida, and its accompanying catalogue detailed Savage’s struggles as a black woman artist and her vital impact on the cultural life of the Harlem

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