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Seaman's Belt

Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917–2000). Seaman's Belt, 1945. Gouache and watercolor on paper mounted on board, 21 x 29 inches (53.3 x 73.7 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; The Martha Jackson Collection at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, 1974 (1974:8.17). © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

© The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Jacob Lawrence

American, 1917-2000

Seaman's Belt, 1945

gouache and watercolor on paper mounted on board

support: 21 x 29 inches (53.34 x 73.66 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

The Martha Jackson Collection at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1974

1974:8.17

More Details

Provenance

estate of Martha Kellogg Jackson;
May 22, 1974, presented by David K. and Rebecca Reed Anderson from the Estate of Martha Jackson to the Martha Jackson Collection at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Class

Paintings

Work Type

Gouache (painting)
Watercolor (painting)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

In a style characterized by basic forms and expressive color, Jacob Lawrence highlighted momentous events and people in African American history, such as Haiti’s emancipation from European rule in 1804 and the life of American abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Lawrence also documented aspects of his own life, particularly his military service. After being drafted into the Coast Guard in 1943, he served as combat artist on the USS General W. P. Richardson. Seaman’s Belt is not typical of the artist’s work; it provides neither a specific narrative nor does it contain any figures. However, these elements have a strong presence. It appears as if the sailor has just removed his belt and emptied his pockets. Keys, a crumpled pack of cigarettes, matches, and an identification badge point to contemporary civilization, while the pattern on the knife and beadwork on the belt allude to indigenous artistic traditions. This work may also be an unconventional self-portrait—the end of the war was nearing and Lawrence was to return soon to civilian life.

Label from 2017

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