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Second Long-Lost Jacob Lawrence Painting Located in NYC Home

Second Long-Lost Jacob Lawrence Painting Located in NYC Home

ART NEWS

Second Long-Lost Jacob Lawrence Painting Located in NYC Home

Just two weeks after a visitor to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art discovered a painting from Jacob Lawrence’s thirty-panel 1954–56 series “Struggle: From the History of the American People” in a neighbor’s Upper West Side living room this past October, a woman living in the same neighborhood alerted officials at the institution that she, too, was in possession of a painting from the series. As reported this morning in the New York Times, in an article appropriately headlined “Lightning Strikes Twice,” the woman, a nurse, read about the first painting’s discovery on a neighborhood-bulletin app and realized that a work that had hung in her dining room for decades might also be by the artist. After closely inspecting the painting, a gift from her mother-in-law, the painting’s surprised owner determined that it appeared to be panel 28 of the fabled series by Lawrence, a leading modernist painter of the mid-twentieth century, and one of the few Black artists of the era to gain recognition at the time he was practicing.She attempted to contact the Met but on receiving no reply to her messages went there herself. Once inside, she said, “I grabbed a young kid at the information desk in the lobby and said, ‘Listen, nobody calls me back. I have this painting. Who do I need to talk to?’” By day’s end, curators Randall Griffey and Sylvia Yount, cocurators of the exhibition “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle,” then on view at the institution, and the Met’s painting conservator, Isabelle Duvernois, had paid a visit to her apartment and confirmed the work’s authenticity.The painting, titled Immigrants admitted from all countries: 1820 to 1840—115,773 and depicting a trio of travelers in rich shades of red, gold, and brown tempera on hardboard, had not been seen publicly since 1960 and was being represented in the exhibition by a blurry black-and-white reproduction. It will appear in its proper place in the series, and in the show, which has traveled to the Seattle Art Museum, where it will be on view March 5 through May 23.

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