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Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculptor's Life



by
Marilyn Nelson

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Hachette Book Group
Imprint
Christy Ottaviano Books
ISBN
9780316298025
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur , Violence: Child Abuse , Illustrations/Images: Nudity/Partial Nudity
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A powerful biography in poems? about a trailblazing artist and a pillar of the Harlem Renaissance—with an afterword by the curator of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Augusta Savage was arguably the most influential American artist of the 1930s. A gifted sculptor, Savage was commissioned to create a portrait bust of W.E.B. Du Bois for the New York Public Library. She flourished during the Harlem Renaissance, and became a teacher to an entire generation of African American artists, including Jacob Lawrence, and would go on to be nationally recognized as one of the featured artists at the 1939 World’s Fair. She was the first-ever recorded Black gallerist. After being denied an artists’ fellowship abroad on the basis of race, Augusta Savage worked to advance equal rights in the arts. And yet popular history has forgotten her name. Deftly written and brimming with photographs of Savage’s stunning sculpture, this is an important portrait of an exceptional artists who, despite the limitations she faced, was compelled to forge a life through art and creativity.

Afterword by Tammi Lawson. Black-and-white photographs. 

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur , Violence: Child Abuse , Illustrations/Images: Nudity/Partial Nudity

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

128

Trim Size

9 3/10" x 6"

Dewey

B

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Apr 2022

Book Genres

Narrative Nonfiction, Poetry

Topics

Augusta Savage (1892–1962). Poetry. Sculptors. African American sculptors. Black sculptors. Black artists. Harlem Renaissance. 

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-Influential Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage (1892-1962) rarely had the money to cast her art in bronze. Instead, what survives of her work, collected in major museums all over the country, is made of humble materials like plaster and clay. Her sculptures are realistic, insightful, and compassionate, much like the sure-footed poetry in this book by celebrated author Nelson. The artist's life-what is known of it-is related largely in the first person. A variety of poetic forms are precisely chosen to fit opportunities, setbacks, triumphs, and encounters with famous people, children, and a truly unhinged admirer. Poems are paired with archival photos and reproductions of artwork and often describe the act of creation and the puzzles that each subject poses-how to capture Marcus Garvey's "black light" or the clear-eyed determination of the young model for "Portrait Head of John Henry." One of the last poems describes Savage at the kitchen table in her home in rural Saugerties, NY, creating a bas-relief of a young dancer using plaster poured into a cookie sheet. This psychological portrait gathers the artist's natural talent, technical expertise, and love of teaching and creating, balanced against the restrictions she faced due to poverty, racism and misogyny, to leave readers with a woman as real and dimensional as the portraits she left the world. VERDICT A master poet breathes life and color into this portrait of a historically significant sculptor and her remarkable story.-Paula Willey

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-Influential Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage (1892-1962) rarely had the money to cast her art in bronze. Instead, what survives of her work, collected in major museums all over the country, is made of humble materials like plaster and clay. Her sculptures are realistic, insightful, and compassionate, much like the sure-footed poetry in this book by celebrated author Nelson. The artist's life-what is known of it-is related largely in the first person. A variety of poetic forms are precisely chosen to fit opportunities, setbacks, triumphs, and encounters with famous people, children, and a truly unhinged admirer. Poems are paired with archival photos and reproductions of artwork and often describe the act of creation and the puzzles that each subject poses-how to capture Marcus Garvey's "black light" or the clear-eyed determination of the young model for "Portrait Head of John Henry." One of the last poems describes Savage at the kitchen table in her home in rural Saugerties, NY, creating a bas-relief of a young dancer using plaster poured into a cookie sheet. This psychological portrait gathers the artist's natural talent, technical expertise, and love of teaching and creating, balanced against the restrictions she faced due to poverty, racism and misogyny, to leave readers with a woman as real and dimensional as the portraits she left the world. VERDICT A master poet breathes life and color into this portrait of a historically significant sculptor and her remarkable story.-Paula Willey

Grades 9 & Up
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Interests
Diversity,LGBTQ+,Nonfiction,Biographies
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