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Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence Paperback – May, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press; 1st edition (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295979658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295979656
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-An excellent supplement to both art and African-American studies. Although taken from Peter Nesbett and Michelle DuBois's extensive, more expensive, two-volume work, The Complete Jacob Lawrence (University of Washington, 2000), Over the Line is an academic resource for more advanced students. Eight essays by prominent art historians examine Lawrence's life, techniques, style, reasons for his popularity, and the relationship of his art to events in African-American history. This quality text is interspersed with copious full-color reproductions. Many are full page; all of the plates are of high quality. This is the first time that many of Lawrence's works have been reproduced in color. The detailed index may be difficult to locate as it precedes nearly 50 pages of information on the current traveling exhibition of Lawrence's work.

Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

It was not until relatively late in his life that the first scholarly monograph on Jacob Lawrence appeared, yet in the last 15 years significant attention has been paid to this giant figure in African American art history. The two-volume set under review is the result of over five years' effort to document Lawrence's entire artistic output, directed by Nesbett and DuBois and with the participation of the artist. It is indeed unfortunate that Lawrence's death occurred before he could see publication. The first volume, Over the Line, consists primarily of a series of scholarly essays, proposing chronological stages in the artist's evolution and providing an overview of Lawrence's life and artistic development, with special focus on the social, racial, and economic conditions expressed in his art. Accompanying the text are 150 color illustrations, an extensive bibliography, an outline biography, and more. The second volume is a true catalogue raisonn consisting of almost 1000 works, mostly in color, arranged by media and date. Unfortunately, some of the reproductions are too small to allow for full appreciation. Truly a prodigious research effort, "The Complete Jacob Lawrence" honors a great artist and gives testimony to his contribution to modern American art. Highly recommended for any library with an interest in the arts.DEugene C. Burt, Seattle
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By L. Feld on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Jacob Lawrence, who died a year ago at age 82, was one of the great American artists of the 20th century -- or any century for that matter. I had the privilege recently of viewing "The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence" at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and was extremely impressed. If you can't make it to the Phillips Collection, this book is the next best thing, with more than 200 full color reproductions of Lawrence's work.
And what a powerful body of work it is, mainly -- but not only -- on the African-American experience. Themes include: slavery; escape via the Underground Railroad; heros and heroines like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman (plus Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture); black migration to the North; continued persecution (lynchings, Jim Crow) well into the 20th century; the Harlem Renaissance; and more. Lawrence's style is simple (but NOT simplistic!), urgent, and direct, using inexpensive materials (cheap store-bought poster paints on hardboard -- whatever Lawrence could afford), which give new meaning to the expression, "less is more!" You get the feeling in looking at these paintings that Lawrence HAD to paint, to bear witness, and to let the world know the situation of his people.
"Over the Line" is a valuable book for many reasons. For one thing, my understanding is that these paintings, sketches, etc. have never before been published in color, or at all, in any other books on Lawrence. "Over the Line" also give you information on Lawrence's life, which was very interesting in its own right. Finally, these painting are simply a joy to look at, over and over, which this book will allow you to do. I strongly recommend that you get a hold of it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Earl R. Sutton on July 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Lawrence (1917-2000) grew up in Harlem, then worked and studied in many parts of the country and in New York until 1971, when he joined the faculty of the U. of Washington in Seattle. Editors Nesbett and DuBois, both of the Jacob Lawrence Catalogue Raisonn<'e> [sic] Project, bring together eight in-depth essays by distinguished art historians who explore and interpret Lawrence's work and life[,] his brilliant art and his identity as an African American artist. Also included is an essay on the binding media and pigments found in Lawrence's paintings and a chronology of his life and reception. This edition was published in conjunction with a major retrospective organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C. in 2001 (and scheduled to travel to several venues through 2003); a previous edition was published in 2000 (minus 50 pages of information about the exhibition) as part of a two-volume set titled [?]. The essays are illustrated with about 140 color reproductions, and the catalogue section features small reproductions of works in the exhibition."--Booknews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn on August 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Awesome - A celebratory documentation of the art of Jacob Lawrence and his sensitivity to life in the black community. The art, essays and personal photographs make this a unique journey into both the man and his passions. This is a critical addition to a true collection and understanding of modern art.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By The Sesh on June 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
True, this is a large collection of Lawrence's work, however it is very incomplete. In the beginning of Lawrence's career, only 21 years old, he produced the Toussaint L'Ouverture Series. A 41 panel series dedicated to the struggle of enslaved Africans and their victory, which was never more blatantly successful than that of Haiti under the slave-born revolutionary known as Toussaint L'Ouverture. In 1938, when this series was completed it was so monumental for the Pan-African American experience, yet this book refuses to acknowledge it.

First, there is only one print, and one that is subtle and not graphic (such as black soldiers defeating whites which was a major theme of the series). It is an insult to the origin of Lawrence's genius and his legacy, especially in regards to pre-Civil Rights African America:which was his community, not the pseudo-intermingled America of today that is now trying to claim him as an "American" artist, taking away his true existence as an African American artist, not American, especially during an era when his people were so restricted from full citizenship.

Only purchase this book if you want a false story, one that ignores and criticizes (the author had the audacity to ridicule Lawrence for the Toussaint Series because the author claims Lawrence was not knowledgable about the Haitian revolution). Though I think Lawrence was aware, it is irrelevant. As a black man descended from slaves, the revolution was within him, he did not have to read about it. He felt it. The Haitian revolution belongs not to just Haiti, it is a symbol of the enslaved African's struggle against white oppression and the ability to be victorious at it. Even if that is all he knew, it is enough. He did not have to read about a struggle for equality, it was his very existence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Sheathelm on July 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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