Couple at Café

Object Details

James Amos Porter
before 1930
graphite, crayon on paper
12 1/2 × 9 7/16 in. (31.7 × 24 cm)
Recognized as the first scholar of African American art, James Amos Porter (1905-1970) was also a teacher and prolific artist in his own right. In this drawing on textured paper, a fashionable couple are posed at a café table. The woman wears a cape and a sweater with a large cross design, while the man, in a heavy coat and top hat, rests his hands on a cane. The bustle of the café is evidenced by the layering of figures in the background, including a man positioned away from the viewer, a server with a towel draped over his shoulder in the upper left, and the dangling arm of a customer seated near the couple. Porter is thought to have made this sketch prior to 1930 while he was studying art and exhibiting in New York in the years following his undergraduate work at Howard University.
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