Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, Lullaby, 1992. Offset lithograph on paper. Collection of  Connie Bostic.

Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence (Faculty Spouse, Informal Dance Instructor 1946 Summer Session) (b.1913-d.2005)

Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence was born in Barbados and moved to the U.S. with her family at age seven. She attended workshops with sculptor Augusta Savage, who encouraged her to work at the Harlem Community Arts Center. There, Knight became involved with artists of the Harlem Renaissance, including Langston Hughes, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence, whom she married in 1941.

The Lawrences were invited to Black Mountain College for the Summer Session of 1946. Though Gwendolyn’s work was representational on a campus that primarily valued abstraction, she was able to gain insights from her time at the college, which she incorporated into her portraits, landscapes, dance, and animal studies. She continued to paint in New York and later Seattle, where she secured gallery representation. She had a major retrospective at the Tacoma Art Museum in 2003, two years before she died. Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence’s work is found in museums and in private collections across the country today.

A transcript from a 1999 interview with Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence, conducted by Connie Bostic, can be downloaded here.

Continue exploring the Summer of 1946 with Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence and Black Mountain College: Between Form + Content: Perspectives on Jacob Lawrence and Black Mountain College (Fall 2018) Digital Resources