Now representing: The Estate of Archibald Motley

Bridgeman Images is excited to announce that it has been chosen to represent the estate of Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891—1981) for all copyright, reproduction, and licensing purposes. Existing mainly within the confines of private collections, we are thrilled to broaden the reach of Motley’s oeuvre which includes colorful portraits of the vibrancy and individuality of the African American community from the Harlem Renaissance period to the Paris Jazz Age.

 

Tongues (Holy Rollers), 1929 by Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
Tongues (Holy Rollers), 1929 by Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 


Archibald Motley: The Artist
 
Hailing from the Art Institute of Chicago, Archibald Motley used his classic fine arts training to consciously rebel against precision and speak to the social and racial issues he faced as a mixed race man living and working in a predominantly white neighborhood.  Motley depicted his own struggle to belong to the African American community by juxtaposing punchy colors to differentiate skin tones and highlight individuals within his paintings.  While known for his lively night scenes, his critical focus lay with accentuating the elements of a community that worked together to create a whole picture. Therefore, his work portrays an intimate uniqueness, transforming each individual to address a social, sexual, or racial issue.  
 
Motley’s voyeuristic style is highly indicative of the communities to which he belonged, living first in Chicago, then moving to Paris to pursue a Guggenheim Fellowship and then to Mexico where he spent time with his eccentric nephew. Each changing situation of his life lent itself to a new modernity or fresh take that Motley applied to his visual repertoire.  His art manages to be forward-thinking while simultaneously transports the viewer into the very heart and moment of the scenes he is depicting.  This uncontrived contradiction injects Archibald Motley’s work with a constant freshness that resonates evenly with individuals from all backgrounds.

 

Self-Portrait, c.1920 by Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
Self-Portrait, c.1920 by Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Blues, 1929 by Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
Blues, 1929 by Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 


Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist
 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1 October 2015 - 17 January 2016
 
In his first New York City retrospective in over two decades, “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist” opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art in early October.  
 
The exhibition provides a comprehensive look at Archibald Motley’s visualization of the Harlem Renaissance to the European Jazz to his intimate portraiture.  The exhibit was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and is a rare opportunity to see the majority of the artist’s work together at one time, as many of his works are not in public institutions but private collections.  The sequential exhibit will give viewers the ability to see Archibald Motley’s well deserved place within modern American Art, notable for its comments on social and racial issues 

Bridgeman Artists' Copyright Service
 
Archibald Motley joins a distinguished list of artists and artists’ estates to have appointed the Bridgeman Artists’ Copyright Service (BACS) including Lucian Freud and Stanley Spencer.  Even if the image is not held by Bridgeman, copyright can still be cleared. 
Sources
 
http://nasher.duke.edu/motley/
http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/motley.html
http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/ArchibaldMotley
http://www.cartermuseum.org/exhibitions/archibald-motley-jazz-age-modernist
 
 

 

Near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 1958 by Archibald J., Jr Motley (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
Near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 1958 by Archibald J., Jr Motley (1891-1981) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

 


Back to top