From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Picasso: Race and the Birth of Modern Art

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  1/5/2015

A Cotton Office in New OrleansIn 1992, Toni Morrison published Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. In the book, Morrison expounds upon her sense that “the major and championed characteristics of our national literature . . .[are] in fact responses to a dark, abiding, signing Africanist presence.” Author and OSU-Cascades art professor Henry Sayre says that this presence is likewise found in art.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 • 6:00 p.m.
Downtown Bend Library

Saturday, January 17, 2015 • 11:00 a.m.
Sunriver Library

“This same ‘dark, abiding, signing Africanist presence’ lies likewise at the roots of modern art,” says Sayre. He cites a handful of works as example. If you look, you will find it “In Manet’s Olympia, Degas’ A Cotton Office in New Orleans, and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” he says.

Deschutes Public Library will host Sayre for two explorations of “Race and the Birth of Modern Art” as part of a month-long “Know Art” series. Both presentations are free and open to the public; no registration is required.

Henry Sayre received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and his doctorate from the University of Washington. He taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, before arriving at Oregon State University in 1983. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including three from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of nine books, including Cave Paintings to Picasso: The Inside Scoop on 50 Art Masterpieces and A World of Art. He has also published widely in national and international journals.

For more information about these or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Tina at 541-312-1034.

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