Archibald Motley Mending Socks

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  Archibald J. Motley Jr., Mending Socks , 1924. Oil on canvas, 43.875 x 40 inches (111.4 x 101.6 cm). Collection of the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Burton Emmett Collection, 58.1.2801. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

We are delighted to welcome you to the exhibition, Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist , on view at the Whitney from October 2, 2015 through January 17, 2016. Comprised of works spanning 1919 to 1972, the exhibition is the first full-scale survey of Archibald Motley’s paintings in two decades and an unprecedented opportunity to carefully examine his dynamic depictions of twentieth-century American life.

During the 1930s, Motley was employed by the federal Works Progress Administration to depict scenes from African-American history in a series of murals, some of which can be found at Nichols Middle School in Evanston, Illinois . After his wife’s death in 1948 and difficult financial times, Motley was forced to seek work painting shower curtains for the Styletone Corporation. In the 1950s, he made several visits to Mexico and began painting Mexican life and landscapes. [11]