Lois in her studioLois Mailou Jones “was an iconic African- American painter and an important historic link in a path-breaking generation of Black American artists. Her eclectic, academic work, in a career spanning nearly 70 years, ranged from impressionistic landscapes to political allegories, and from cubistic depictions of African sculptures to realistic portraits.”

Lois Mailou Jones wanted to be remembered as an artist, not just as an African-American or woman artist. Her life spanned almost all of the twentieth century—a time of unprecedented changes in American history—and she was an active participant in the development of African-American influence in the arts.  She was a trailblazer as a respected college professor, an artist ambassador, an international expert on culture who documented everything she saw and did as a painter in the Harlem Renaissance, an illustrator for Carter Woodson, a colleague of Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, an educator and mentor, and a champion of Black artists in Africa and the Caribbean.

In 1980, she was honored at the White House for her outstanding achievement in the arts.


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