There are many churches in Harlem. The people are very religious.
Transparent and opaque watercolor and tempera over graphite on paper
15 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.
u.l. signed and dated : J. Lawrence 43
l.l. in graphite: CHURCH [partially erased]
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
Between World War I and World War II, over 1.5 million African Americans moved north from the American South, seeking to escape racial oppression and violence. More than 50,000 settled in Harlem in New York City, where Lawrence portrayed the vibrancy and complexity of his fast-changing neighborhood.
Lawrence’s watercolor depicts one of the many churches that sprung up in Harlem storefronts to accommodate the influx of new worshippers. Through an open doorway, a preacher and his congregation are visible, along with the words “God! God! God!” on the back wall. Inside the church, one churchgoer raises her arms in exaltation, while outside a lone woman passes by carrying a colorful bag of fresh produce. With the assortment of figures in the scene, Lawrence signals the presence of multiple expressions of spiritual life in the community, ranging from ardent religiosity to virtues embedded within workaday activities.
—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)
The Carter DowntownSeptember 18, 1999–September 1, 2001
While the museum is closed for expansion, visitors will still have the opportunity to experience American art through “Greatest Hits” from the museum’s collection at the Carter’s temporary gallery in downtown Fort Worth.
Revealed Treasures: Drawings from the Permanent CollectionOctober 21, 2001–February 10, 2002
This exhibition of drawings spanning the 19th and 20th centuries represents the evolution of the medium from preliminary outlines for other artistic media to a modern means of self-expression in its own right.
The Allure of Paper: Drawings and Watercolors from the CollectionJuly 9–October 9, 2011
This special exhibition showcases one-of-a-kind works on paper never before exhibited together, chronicling the sweeping changes that occurred in American art over the course of nearly 200 years from portraiture and history painting to modernism and abstraction.