Art: Birth of a Nation

Negro Painter Jacob Lawrence seldom tries to cover a whole subject on one canvas. In 20 years he has turned out nine series of paintings on such subjects as Haitian Emperor Toussaint L'Ouverture, Negro migration, and Abolitionist John Brown. The success of his approach is attested to by the fact that six of the series have ended up intact in top U.S. museums or public collections. For his latest, 30 small 12-in.-by-16 in. tempera panels (of an eventual 60), Painter Lawrence, 39, has broadened his range, taken in not only the Negro, but the whole nation. His ambitious subject: the birth...

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