In 2019 the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art and the Christian-Green Gallery at the University of Texas at Austin concurrently held exhibitions of work by the renowned and legendary American artist, Charles White. Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1918, White, who died at the relatively young age of 61 in 1979, was a highly skilled and accomplished draughtsman, painter, printmaker and muralist. He dedicated his life to his art, which was characterized by its commitment to depicting African Americans as dignified, resilient survivors. His drawings of Black Americans resonated with hope, fortitude, humanity and culture. With a highly distinctive drawing style, White established himself as one of the most respected, admired and appreciated African American artists of the 20th century. His drawings, though in some respects hugely accessible, were nuanced creations embodying many layers of meaning, history and culture. White’s work readily lent itself to wider dissemination and to this end was extensively used to illustrate book jackets, record sleeves and other printed materials.
Poet Nikki Giovanni perfectly expressed the love many people have for Charles White's images, in her poem 'Charles White' - "Charles White and his art were introduced to me through magazines and books—that's why I love them."
In recognition of the Blanton Museum and Christian-Green Gallery exhibitions, the material on these Charles White pages reflects the artist's prolific work as an illustrator of book jackets, record sleeves, and other published/printed material. These pages also seek to chronicle something of White's extraordinary career as an exhibiting artist, by documenting catalogues and other material. The following archival items reflect White’s extensive and prolific career and examples from this material were including in the two exhibitions at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall semester of 2019.
The following material is arranged chronologically, the oldest material being at the top, the most recent material being towards the bottom.