Exhibit shows Harlem born Norman Lewis’ depiction of urban struggles, abstract expressionism

By , on December 27, 2015


Norman Lewis' Procession gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Twitter photo)
Norman Lewis’ Procession gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
(Twitter photo)

PHILADELPHIA—The evolving styles of Harlem-born artist Norman Lewis are on display in a major retrospective at a museum in Philadelphia.

The exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts includes 95 paintings and prints and is loosely chronological with six thematic sections.

Lewis first gained attention in the 1930s for his figurative and literal depictions of struggles facing his urban African-American community. He then began to experiment with abstract impressionism, the realm of painters like Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning, whom he later befriended.

Some African-Americans artists tried to discourage Lewis’s change in style, but he refused to be limited in his work.

The exhibition runs through April 3.