Richmond Barthé: Harlem Renaissance SculptorAugust 4 to November 5, 2023 Jepson Center
Telfair celebrates Richmond Barthé (1901–1989), one of the foremost sculptors of the 20th century. A passion for art carried Barthé from his youth on the Mississippi coast and in New Orleans to Chicago, where he discovered his genius for sculpture, and then to New York City. There he won fame in the 1930s among the chorus of artistic voices around the Harlem Renaissance, alongside painter Aaron Douglas, sculptor Augusta Savage, and poet Langston Hughes. To assert the dignity and humanity of his fellow African Americans, Barthé crafted bronze statues of dancers, workers, religious figures, and icons in Black history like singer Josephine Baker, actor Paul Robeson, and Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture. In works such as Feral Benga (1935) and Stevedore (1937), he boldly presented Black male bodies as strong and beautiful, challenging racial and gender taboos of the era. Today Barthé’s bronzes appear in many of America’s leading museum collections, and this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to admire 25 of his most elegant and important creations.
Richmond Barthé: Harlem Renaissance Sculptor was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA, under the curatorial leadership of Dr. Samella Lewis (1923–2022).