AARON DOUGLAS (1899 - 1979) Untitled (Self-Portrait in Dashiki).
Oil on canvas board, circa 1960-65. 610x502 mm; 24x19 3/4 inches. Signed in oil, lower right.
Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; private collection, Washington, DC.
This unusual self-portait, with the artist wearing both a dashiki and a kufi cap, proudly displays the Pan-African spirit of the period. Aaron Douglas had a growing interest in Africa in the late 1950s while teaching at Fisk University. He visited both Europe and West Africa in the summer of 1956 with his wife and their friends Dr. and Mrs. W. W. Goens. While they traveled to the port cities of Dakar, Senegal, Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria, Douglas painted a series of watercolor landscapes and street scenes which he exhibited back at Fisk University that fall. Douglas was also instrumental in founding the Afro-American Committee for Gifts of Art and Literature to Ghana in the fall of 1959. Earle pp. 221-222.