Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel #11 – Food had doubled in price because of the war. Casein tempera on hardboard, 12 x 18 in.
We love D.C. for many reasons, the primary focus of this site being the dining scene. One of the other reasons to love the city is the archipelago of great art museums that stretch across the city, many of them that are free.
The Phillips Collection is not free, but it is a gift to the city. It is home to many treasures, including its most renowned: Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. The Phillips also has one half of Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series. Lawrence’s work depicts the great northern migration of African-Americans during World War I over the course of 60 panels. The series was split in half when a benefactor bought the even-numbered pictures for New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Duncan Phillips swept in and bought the odd-numbered ones.
The first few panels depict the factors that instigated the migration. The economic ones included failed crops due to boll weevils, floods, and the pull of open industrial jobs in the north. The panel above, entitled Food had doubled in price because of the war, depicts another of the economic factors.
The half of the series owned by the Phillips, including the one pictured above, are currently on display.