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Sidewalk of New York

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Sidewalk of New York

circa 1938 - 1942
20.3 x 25.4 cm (8 x 10 in.)

Charles White (Chicago, Illinois, 1918 - 1979, Los Angeles, California) Primary

Object Type: photograph
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print, unique
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of the Charina Endowment Fund, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.218

Charles White is best known for his drawings and prints of African American subjects past and present; however, photography played a crucial role in his artistic process. Throughout his career, White relied on photographs as source material. When he moved from Chicago to New York in 1942, he continued his practice of photographing scenes of everyday life—newsstands, salespeople, pedestrians, musicians, shoppers, and street vendors like the one seen here in "Sidewalk of New York." White himself identified closely with the working class, through both his Marxist political education and his own personal experience—his mother was a domestic worker, and early in life he worked as a cook, bellhop, and sign painter. Despite the harsh realities experienced during the Great Depression in New York, White’s photographs document the resilience of African Americans and offer an inclusive view of society.

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