I am Gail Tanzer, and I write historical fiction about artists who were once well-known but whose work and contributions have been almost forgotten. Every great piece of art is a reflection of the history of the time as well as of the individual artist’s soul. I try to tell the story of both.
AUGUSTA SAVAGE:RENAISSANCE WOMAN
Augusta Savage at work on The Harp, 1935-1945, New York World’s Fair (1939-1940). Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2018 TO SUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2019
Organized by guest curator Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D.
This exhibition features nearly 80 works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and works on paper, and is the first to reassess Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage’s contributions to art and cultural history in light of 21st-century attention to the concept of the artist-activist. The fully illustrated companion catalogue presents the most up-to-date scholarly research, re-examines Savage’s place in the history of American sculpture and positions her as a leading figure who broke down the barriers she and her students encountered while seeking to participate fully in the art world.
Augusta’s family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in about 1908. Gussie and her one-year -old daughter moved here also. They lived in homes like these. Artwork has been added recently for a lively touch. Gussie and her daughter Irene had their own place a few doors down from her parents. The very basic frame dwellings were put up to house African-Americans who worked for the extravagant new hotels in Palm Beach. Gussie and her mother were laundresses for the hotels.
After going to Green Cove Springs, Florida (Savage’s birthplace), I went to New York City to research her life there.
A statue done by Augusta Savage in the 1930s to show how slaves felt when they realized there was no good future for them. This work, along with many of her other works, cannot be found.
This is the road to the house Augusta lived in when she left New York City. Here is the road sign that the community chose to replace the one that originally said “Nigger Road. (After a while one of the g’s was taken out to make the sign look like NIG ER Road). Augusta Savage was well-received in Saugerties when she came in the 1940s. However, she chose to spend most of her time tending her little farm, taking notes at a laboratory, and visiting with the neighbor children. She did about seven works of art in Saugerties but left the art world for the most part…while only in mid-life.
Karlyn Knaust Elia and Dick Duncan purchased the house and are restoring it with tender loving care.