11 Black Artists You Should Know More About

How to start saving money

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Why it is important to start saving

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How much money should I save?

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What percentege of my income should go to savings?

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Artory’s price database, which contains millions of transaction records from auction houses across the globe, was an integral part of the research conducted in the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Report. From classic masterpieces to innovative contemporary artworks, Artory contains a diverse array of data points, provenance records, and price histories that are invaluable to collectors and art historians alike. Search through Artory’s free price database to explore and research more artwork prices, trends, and records by these artists.

1. Horace Pippin (February 22, 1888 – July 6, 1946)

"Holy Mountain I", 1944. Horace Pippin
“Holy Mountain I”, 1944

Horace Pippin was one of the first Black artists to depict and express social injustices through his art. He was known for portraying a wide variety of subjects, including history, religion, and domestic life. Having lost the use of his right arm in World War I, Pippin discovered painting later in life, becoming a self-taught artist with a unique and forceful visual language. This work, “Holy Mountain I”, 1944, was sold by Sotheby’s during the American Art Sale in November of 2018.

2. Augusta Savage (February 29, 1892 – March 27, 1962)

"Gamin". Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage was an artist and major figure during the Harlem Renaissance. She is known as one of the first artists who consistently dealt with black physiognomy, capturing the essence of her subject’s personality in diminutive busts. In addition to being a prolific artist, she was an influential activist and arts educator. This sculpture, “Gamin”, was sold by Christie’s at their Fine American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture Sale in March 2012.

3. Norman Wilfred Lewis (July 23, 1909 – August 27, 1979)

“Street Scene”, 1941. Norman Wilfred Lewis
“Street Scene”, 1941

Norman Wilfred Lewis was a pioneering painter of Bermudian descent. Despite his shift from a representational style to an abstract one, he remained acutely aware of and active about social inequalities. His early social realism artworks are made with “an overtly figurative style, depicting bread lines, evictions, and police brutality.” This painting, “Street Scene”, 1941, was sold by Christie’s at their American Art Sale in May 2017.

4. Romare Bearden (September 2, 1911 – March 12, 1988)

"The Piano Lesson", 1984. Romare Bearden
“The Piano Lesson”, 1984.

Romare Bearden was an American artist, author, songwriter, and humanist. He was a founding member of the Harlem-based art group known as Spiral, which focused on the Civil Rights Movement and its relationship to the shifting landscape of American politics, art, and culture. He has been a social worker for three decades, concerned mostly with unity and cooperation within the Black community. Having experimented with many different mediums and artistic styles throughout his life, he is best known for his richly textured collages and was noted by the New York Times to be “the nation’s foremost collagist.” This painting, “The Piano Lesson”, 1984, was sold by Sotheby’s during the Contemporary Art Day Auction in May of 2014.

5. Robert Colescott (August 26, 1925 – June 4, 2009)

"Cultural Exchange", 1987. Robert Colescott
“Cultural Exchange”, 1987.

Robert Colescott was an American artist, known for his humorous crowd paintings. Having studied with Fernand Léger, he was praised by Roberta Smith when she said “no American painter of the late 20th century made such telling use of painting’s European past to lambaste the painful contradictions of the American present.” His satirical and allegorical representation confronts racial tension, class disparity, and cultural appropriation. This painting, “Cultural Exchange”, 1987, was sold by Christie’s at their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in November 2018.

6. Faith Ringgold (born 1930)

"Tar Beach 2, from Women on a Beach Series", 1990-92. Faith Ringgold
“Tar Beach 2, from Women on a Beach Series”, 1990-92

Faith Ringgold is a contemporary Black visual artist, performance artist, and writer. She is best known for her painterly quilts, wherein she revisits an iconic form of Black-American story-telling. Ringgold has been an activist since the 70s, in both anti-racist and feminist movements. She once said, “When I was in elementary school, I used to see reproductions of Horace Pippin’s 1942 painting called ‘John Brown Going to His Hanging’ in my textbooks. I didn’t know Pippin was a black person. No one ever told me that. I was much, much older before I found out that there was at least one black artist in my history books. Only one. Now that didn’t help me. That wasn’t good enough for me. How come I didn’t have that source of power? It is important. That’s why I am a black artist. It is exactly why I say who I am.” This work, “Tar Beach 2, from Women on a Beach Series”, 1990-92, was sold at Bonhams at their Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples Auction in June 2016.

7. Emma Amos (March 16, 1937-May 20, 2020)

"Giza, Emma, Larry", 1992. Emma Amos
“Giza, Emma, Larry”, 1992

Emma Amos, who sadly passed away recently the age of 83, was a painter and print-maker born in Atlanta, Georgia. According to a recent New York Times article about Amos: “The fact that Ms. Amos’s art complicates, rather than narrows, notions of identity, racial and otherwise, makes it pertinent to the present moment, when binary thinking of all kinds is under scrutiny. At the same time, her careerlong belief in art as a form of ethical resistance carries new weight when the promises of the civil rights era seem again under threat.”This collage, “Giza, Emma, Larry”, 1992, was sold at RoGallery at their October Fine Art Prints & Paintings Auction in 2015.

8. Barkley L. Hendricks (April 16, 1945 – April 18, 2017)

Sir Nelson. Solid!", 1970. Barkley L. Hendricks
“Sir Nelson. Solid!”, 1970

Barkley L. Hendricks was an American painter who made pioneering contributions to black portraiture. He draws inspiration from the Western tradition of portraiture, but with a contemporary twist by confronting the institutional representation of black subject matters and adding a sense of humor. With unique individuality and a piercing gaze, each portrait is engaged in an open conversation with the viewer. This painting, “Sir Nelson. Solid!”, 1970, was sold was sold by Sotheby’s during their Contemporary Art Day Auction in November 2018.

9. Lorna Simpson (born 1960)

"May June July August '57/'09", 2009. Lorna Simpson
“May June July August ’57/’09”, 2009

Lorna Simpson is an American artist who became well-known in the mid-1980s for her large- scale photograph-and-text works that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history, and memory. This set of photographs, “May June July August ’57/’09”, 2009, was sold by Christie’s at their Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction in October 2019.

10. Mark Bradford (born November 20, 1961)

"Scratch Pink", 2018. Mark Bradford.
“Scratch Pink”, 2018

Mark Bradford is a Black artist living and working in Los Angeles. His artistic practice involves various disciplines, and he is best known for his grid-like collages in which he incorporates discarded everyday materials in his work. His works comment on urban life, functionality, and shared memory. Bradford quotes Michel Laguerre to describe his practice: “the informal arena provides a hidden space where one can stand to read the city as a social laboratory of everyday practice.” This mixed-media work, “Scratch Pink”, 2018, was sold by Sotheby’s during their Contemporary Art Evening Auction in May 2019.

11. Mickalene Thomas (born 1971)

"I Have Been Good to Me", 2015. Mickalene Thomas.
“I Have Been Good to Me”, 2015

Mickalene Thomas is a contemporary African-American artist, best known for her mixed-media artworks that draw from a variety of artistic influences and examine the ideas of gender, sexuality, and femininity, with a special focus on LGBTQ+ themes. She also created the first individual portrait of Michelle Obama, which was exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery. This photo-collage, “I Have Been Good to Me”, 2015, was sold by Phillips at their Evening & Day Editions Auction in October 2016.

To support change within the art market and the larger art community, we recommend reviewing the resources in this article from Artsy.