The Citiblog

The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism Exhibit to Debut at The Met
February 12, 2024, 5:42.46 pm ET


Image: William Henry Johnson

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the groundbreaking exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism from February 25 through July 28, 2024. Through some 160 works, 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 Chicago’s South Side and nationwide in the early decades of the Great Migration when millions of African Americans began to move away from the segregated rural South.

“This landmark exhibition reframes the Harlem Renaissance, cementing its place as the first African American–led movement of international modern art,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO. “Through compelling portraits, vibrant city scenes, history paintings, depictions of early mass protests and activism, and dynamic portrayals of night life created by leading artists of the time, the exhibition boldly underscores the movement’s pivotal role in shaping the portrayal of the modern Black subject—and indeed the very fabric of early 20th-century modern art.”

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, including Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Fisk University Galleries, Hampton University Art Museum, and Howard University Gallery of Art. Other major lenders include the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. The exhibition will also include loans from significant private collections and European museums.

Image: William Henry Johnson (American, 1901–1970). Woman in Blue, c. 1943. Oil on burlap. Framed: 35 × 27 in. (88.9 × 68.6 cm). Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Permanent Loan from the National Collection of Fine Art, 1969.013. Courtesy Clark Atlanta University Art Museum.

- Metropolitan Museum of Art