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Famous Black Artists

They are the famous African-American artists who have exquisitely shared portrayals of historic events and individuals, cultural perspectives, and the experiences and struggles of minorities through their artwork. Examine our list of pivotal black artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, who helped to bring African-American and Latino experiences into the elite art world through his graffiti works; Augusta Savage, a sculptor and leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance, who experienced racial discrimination by an art program’s selection committee; and Kara Walker, who has used paper silhouettes to depict race and gender relations.

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Famous Black Artists

Explore Biography.com’s collection of famous black artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Augusta Savage, James Van Der Zee and Kara Walker. See our picks, along with full biographies, photo galleries and videos, only on Biography.com.

#1 Augusta Savage

Civil Rights Activist, Activist, Educator, Sculptor, Artist (1892–1962)

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#2 Edmonia Lewis

Sculptor, Artist (c. 1844–c. 1907)

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#3 Jacob Lawrence

Painter, Academic (1917–2000)

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#4 Horace Pippin

Military Leader, Painter, Warrior (1888–1946)

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#6 Jean-Michel Basquiat

Painter, Artist (1960–1988)

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#7 Simmie Knox

Painter (1935–)

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#8 James Van Der Zee

Photographer (1886–1983)

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#9 Henry Ossawa Tanner

Painter (1859–1937)

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#10 Faith Ringgold

Activist, Painter, Civil Rights Activist, Women's Rights Activist, Author, Educator (1930–)

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#11 Lorna Simpson

Photographer (1960–)

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#12 Betye Saar

Artist (1926–)

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#15 Gordon Parks

Songwriter, Photographer, Writer, Pianist, Director (1912–2006)

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#16 Kara Walker

Painter (1969–)

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