September 1, 2016 - The Phillips Collection - People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s "Migration Series"
September 1, 2016

The Phillips Collection

Jacob Lawrence, Panel no. 1 During World War I there was a great migration north by southern African Americans,from "The Migration Series," 1940-41. Casein tempera on hardboard, 12 x 18 inches. Acquired 1942. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s "Migration Series"
October 8, 2016–January 8, 2017

The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
United States

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This fall, all 60 panels of the masterwork "The Migration Series" by renowned African American 20th century artist Jacob Lawrence will be on display at The Phillips Collection in People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s "Migration Series". A powerful visual epic, "The Migration Series" (1940–41) documents the historic movement of millions of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North more than a century ago. Reuniting 30 panels owned by the Phillips with 30 panels on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, Lawrence’s complete series will be on display beginning October 8, 2016, and will run until January 8, 2017. This exhibition builds on the museum’s rich and meaningful history with the artist over the course of decades in exhibitions and internationally recognized educational initiatives.
“Since the time Duncan Phillips first acquired the odd-numbered panels of Lawrence’s series in 1942, 'The Migration Series' has remained a cornerstone of our permanent collection and a force in our educational work with international communities,” said Director Dorothy Kosinski. “While Jacob Lawrence’s masterpiece was created more than 70 years ago, it continues to resound powerfully with the global plight of migrants today. I look forward to the Phillips continuing its leadership role in using 'The Migration Series' to stimulate dialogue and reflection on global challenges in the 21st century.”   
“In panel 60 of 'The Migration Series,' Lawrence leaves us with the message, ‘And the migrants keep coming,’” said curator Elsa Smithgall. “During a time when record numbers of migrants are uprooting themselves in search of a better life, Lawrence’s timeless tale and its universal themes of struggle and freedom continue to strike a chord not only in our American experience but also in the international experience of migration around the world.”
Launch of interactive website
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Phillips will launch a dynamic interactive website on October 2 that will engage audiences with the historic and contemporary implications of migration. Special features include never-before-published video interviews with Jacob Lawrence as well as multiple perspectives from artists and scholars across disciplines. The website invites users to add their voices to the dialogue by offering their own visions for a 61st panel in the series or creating poems using words from prominent Harlem Renaissance poets. 

Jacob Lawrence and The Phillips Collection
In 1942, museum founder Duncan Phillips expressed great enthusiasm for Lawrence’s Migration Series upon seeing it at the Downtown Gallery. That year, Phillips gave Lawrence his first solo museum exhibition and soon after purchased the odd-numbered panels. The Phillips has remained deeply committed to sharing and expanding Lawrence’s legacy and achievements with broad and diverse audiences. Enriched by a close relationship with the artist during his lifetime, The Phillips Collection has for the last 25 years played a leadership role in the study, presentation, and teaching of Jacob Lawrence’s important contribution to the history of modern art.

Image gallery
High-resolution press images are available by request or via Dropbox.
Exhibition sponsors
People on the Move is organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
The exhibition is presented by Altria
Generous support is provided by Elaine Reuben
Additional in-kind support is provided by Farrow&Ball
About The Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of Modern art, is one of the world’s most distinguished collections of Impressionist and Modern American and European art. Artists represented in the collection include Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Richard Diebenkorn, among others. The permanent collection has grown to include more than 1,000 photographs and works by contemporary artists such as Anslem Kiefer, Wolfgang Laib, and Leo Villareal. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations.

The Phillips Collection
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