Pioneer of Color: A Conversation with Lois Mailou Jones
You were born in 1905 in Boston Massachusetts you spent a lot of time at Martha's Martha's Vineyard. Let's go down memory lane Let's go back and let's talk about the things that influenced your life to bring you where you are today. Well I think. It began very early with me as a child. I was always starring and my mother and father encouraged me. And then they would give me crayons and watercolors and. And then too it was the experience of as you said of going to Martha's Vineyard. And my mother used to take me and my brother every summer of our childhood to Martha's Vineyard island and then. I've always been a lover of nature. And going there and seeing the beauty of the island the ocean the blue of the waters and the fields of
daisies and butter cups and all it was just great as a child to go there. Now you said that your parents encouraged you in your desire to draw. Were either of your parents or artistic. I can't think of anyone who's artistic or an artist in the family. That my mother used to love to design hats and she would do them with veils and plumes and flowers and she would do them for her friends and for the children. And then she loved decorating the house with flowers so that there was that atmosphere. Artistic atmosphere. Did you like to draw flowers. Yes yes. That began very early too. Now in 1927 you were about to graduate from the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts and you decided to apply for an assistant ship position. What were you told.
Well. I went to the Boston Museum school on scholarships and I thought that. I had won many awards and that perhaps it would be an opportunity for me to be an assistant also. So I went to the director of the school and asked Clark if there was any chance for me to be there. And he was very kind he said no we don't have any openings but if you ever thought to go south to help your people. And of course that was quite shocking. I mean being there in Boston with Radcliffe and Harvard and taps and all the big universities and there I was being advised to go south to help my people. So when you heard that I mean how did you react. Well it was a shock. It really was. I mean I had majored in
design at the design at the Boston Museum School and. And did textile designing in graduate school. After that. And I felt that I really just had more than being told to go south. Did you realize that you were experiencing racism. Well I in Boston of course we did have sacred nation. I remember we never like being called black for example we were colored people and all of that. I had lived through so that it was something that caused me to realize that perhaps I wasn't going to get the cooperation in them in Boston. So in that case you said I may have to move. And you did. You went to New York City. No. Well I did get a scholarship to
do textile designing. And. I would take my portfolio to New York and then also to textile houses in Boston. They were designed for Cretans drapery fabrics that type of thing. And. Then I realized that if I wanted to go down in history as an artist that I would certainly have to paint these textiles for instance had names like grow gap and this be and. But you never saw my name. Now I know that you worked as a textile designer for a fostering company. Yes that was a very important House in Boston. And then I went to New York and school Makka bought some of my designs and I had quite some success when you being born in Boston and raised in Boston you accepted the challenge of creating and heading up the art
department of Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina. How did you. Adjust then to segregation in the south. Well. We used to have in Boston a Sunday farm and all the young people would go and hear important speakers like the boys al-Ain lock. And. In this particular occasion Charlotte Hawkins Brown the founder of Paghman Memorial Institute in Sedalia gave a lecture and she told that she said that we need you young people in the south. You must come down and help us. And then after the lecture I went up to her and asked her if she had an apartment. And she said no. We have a night course I said because perhaps I could build you and I did but then she said you
seem to be a little young but at any rate I got the job. And so it was that I planned to go to Sunday here in North Carolina to be able to not depart. And once she got there what happened. Well it certainly wasn't only did we work in that specifically and I had I mean I was coaching the basketball team. I had been very athletic in Boston and played in the basketball team and all of that I was teaching folk dancing. She learned Charlotte Arkan's learned that I played the piano and Sundays I was playing for the Sunday school cause the children and I tell you it was quite a double burden. But I enjoyed it. I really really did. But it was hard work but there you did. Being in North Carolina at that time you did experience. Probably
wasn't more blatant racism segregation. Oh it was very terrible. I mean I'm going to the shops for instance you couldn't try on any clothes or hats. And if you went to the theater you had to sit way in the balcony upstairs. And and it was very very bad. Did any of those experiences influence any of your artwork. Well one thing. Going out in the countryside I had never seen how the poor class of sharecroppers negroes lived. And I did have one other kind of law of a negro cabin I recall. And and did some of the old people who lived in those older houses and that type of thing. So that. And. I learned a lot. I learned a lot. Now in 1930 Howard University recruited you to teach
design and watercolor painting. You took the position that began really at the Memorial Institute. I had a very strong course going. And I remember inviting James Vernon Henry the founder of the art department at Howard University to come down to us today to give a lecture. And I put up an excellent exhibit of the student's work and that impressed him to the extent that. He came over to me and said. We want you at Howard in September as well I said I have a contract for two years he said Don't worry we'll take care of Charlotte Hawkins Brown and we will have you at Howard. So in 1930. And I went to Howard where I taught. For 47 years. So did you think it was going to last that long. Well we never got.
So now you're teaching during the 30s you were teaching your work was being exhibited but in 1937 you received a fellowship to study at the academic Juliar in Paris. That was when I got the sabbatical leave and. To study at the Academy Julia in Paris. And that was to realize my dream because when I used to go to my husband that I went I remember meeting me at Warwick Fuller at the beach and Harry Birley you know the right of the Negro spirituals and both of them told me they said go is you're not going to make it in this country if you want to have success you're going to have to go abroad meet a Warwick full I had gone abroad. And then she met Rhodan. That was a great inspiration because then. And she worked in his
studio and. And then also I had heard of Henry TANNER. They were talking to me about him and how he couldn't make it in this country and he had to go abroad. And then the success that he had receiving the Legion of Honor for example and all of that was an inspiration for that to happened for many African-Americans where they couldn't do what they did best in America. Many did. They became expatriates. Well the establishment was not ready to receive the work of the Afro American artists. And that's why. And we owe Tanner escape. I mean at Monier Lewis. And Hale Woodruff I can go on the name so many who have to go abroad. Well you got on the SS Normandy set sail for Paris. You got there. You became the toast of the town. Well it really was a thrill that to get on that beautiful boat.
I remember walking the gangplank and the minute I stepped on board the reception that I received it was. Mademoiselle Jones. This is your state from. And this is your table in the dining room. Mademoiselle JONES If there's anything we can do. I said my goodness. Going to Paris described to be a thrilling experience. And then when I went to my state room there was the basket of fruit from Dr. cottonwoods. You know I had to get his Illustrator is that right. Read children's books and even the assignment to do the illustrations in parish for our African heroes and heroines which was one of his publications. So it's safe to say I've arrived I have arrived and I think Schomburg has also. Sent a basket of flowers. So all of this was so wonderful to realize the dream to go to Paris.
All right. You arrive in Paris. You begin to work. Your work is acclaimed. You have much success. What then. Well you know Josephine Baker. In a way was responsible for some of that success because she was the toast of Paris. And the fact that she was received in that dance and all. I mean I was being received at the salon they say that these fronts say the gallery the power of the other important galleries for my paintings which were exhibited so that. It really was a blossoming of my career and also it gave me the strength to know that I have talent. And I got to make it. You had also I think a sense of freedom. Being in Paris didn't you. I forgot I was black. I really did. I mean the way I was received
by one family in particular that Tabari family. And. How I was invited to go to their home in northern France and to paint the beauty of the place and. The treatment that I got everywhere so color wasn't important except for what you were putting on canvas. Really my color didn't count. It was the talent. Really. Do you feel then that you were more productive in Paris. Oh yes I painted. I can't tell you how serious it was. Painting up in Moema and all around the little street scenes and in Paris I worked as an impressionist and one of the critiques that I got the general they because I. Mentioned that. Her works was somewhat in the direction of saison however has silvery gray palette. Her paintings of the job end to look
Simberg desired in the Clooney and all of that. Really spoke of talent in that direction of Impressionism. And then I met Emil Binod. I was painting on the same near-point Marie and this distinguished gentleman was watching me quite a long time and finally he said something in French. And he was a typical artist you know with the wide black hat and the bow tie and the very kind face. And they said something in French. My French was not good. I called my colleague Selina Barrios painting looking down the other end of the scene to come and tell me what he was saying. What was he saying. And he was saying it's so good to see a young artist who's not wasting canvas and that paints and brushes and she's talented
and he found that I would go. And from that day his studio which was just near there was where we would go and leave our. Big canvases because working as an impressionist many times I'd have to go back to the same scene maybe four or five times at the same light. To it to get the feeling. For the the the scene and carrying those heavy canvases was rather difficult so that we left them at his studio and I remember going that first day and. Having him serve little cakes and tea and his wonderful collection of Japanese prints was marvelous and his paintings and he brought out three paintings and put them before us he said Who do you think did those. And of course we both cried out
that it was then go again say as they are they said oh no they are mine he said that it was a guy who took my style and went to Tahiti and got famous. And it's true. You've been Binod really never got his full recognition until much later. In his life. Much of your work was exhibited in Europe didn't many people know oftentimes that you were African-American black negro. Yes they couldn't quite understand sometimes the French would be watching me painting in the streets of Paris and they would say you are American you say but you're African. And I would say that. My ancestors are African but I am an American woman. And I remember in. Paris after.
I didn't. Meet. Well I did meet Albert Smith and Alan Smith was a very very good friend of mine while I was there. And I remember he would come to my studio and. And look at my work and. Tell me stories about how after he had served this country as a soldier and fought for his country and the war being over he stayed in Paris to paint and went to Spain where the light was so beautiful and he painted there. He took these beautiful candles canvases back to New York. He walked 57 street. The guy would look at his work and say that they're very good but we can't show them because of your color he said Lois when you go back to the states tell me what happens to your paintings. And sure enough I went to 57 street
and I walked 57 street with the paintings and they mention that the work was excellent. You're an excellent impressionist but you can't show your work because of your color. When I came back and I found that the situation was closed and I packed my paintings in crates and shipped them to the National Museum for example the National Academy of Design in New York City the Philadelphia Academy. And invariably it works for one. They never knew that the artist was black. I recall going up to Philadelphia and seeing one of my works hanging in the main central area of the gallery. And I was standing there looking at it saying to myself I made it. And the guard came up to me and they looked at me and looked at the pain and he said I guess you like art
don't you. You never knew that the painting didn't make you had it at all. Were you bitter about well inside. I mean you you can understand it. I was hurt many many times but I didn't let it interfere with my work. I mean I had set my goal the thing I wanted to do and I lived above it. Do you feel that you've gotten your full recognition. Not yet. Really. It's been very difficult for the Afro American artist. First of all we're not represented in galleries sufficiently in exhibits I mean it's a problem. So that at least I'm living at this time to see some of my works hanging in the Hirshhorn Museum the National Museum of American Art. And other galleries. But I still feel that there's
still. Laps to go you know. Yes you. You began I think in the 30s who noticed some African influences in the work of some of the French artists but you were the one who really kind of introduced that influence. You know it was very interesting when I was working at studying in Boston. I worked in the studio of grace Ripley on Boylston Street. And she was the designer for the Tejon dances the Denish on school. And. I would go there Saturdays and she would have me doing time that week and making of the masks were making of the masks took me to the museum and and I became very very much interested in the African masks and I made them out of Poppea shake and that type of thing. Then later in my
career when I went to Paris. The galleries and the French people were very much interested in the African sculpture and the African art. And I went to the exhibit I made sketches of the masks and. Then I went back to my lovely Paris studio and did the painting late that teach. And that's a painting. And oil which I took down to the Academy and my professors Montezemolo and Maurice looked at it. They said that that just doesn't look like it was Jones painting. She they were used to my street scenes and look some boring guy in jeans and they couldn't understand how I could have done that painting of the African masks and I had to tell them I said when you think of Picasso Matisse Modigliani venture's C and so on who took the
African inspiration and did their paintings and got famous. Don't you think that I really have the right to a good cause. Well they have to admit that if anybody had the right to you know to have that influence that certainly Rolling Stones and later Tricia has become a very famous painting hasn't it. Yes. Now it's. Hanging in the National Museum of American Idol and it's traveling very soon in the show that they are sponsoring the works of Africa Afro American artist an artist's work is always evolving because the artist is always evolving. You made the acquaintance of Alan Locke who was the Harvard philosopher Rhodes scholar. He had a very profound effect on your work didn't he. Very definitely. You see after I left Paris. And I came back to
my work at Howard University I met al-Ain lock on the campus and he said that he liked my street scenes. We know that he was going to put in that first book that came out in. The negro and. He said Oh it's you you and the other Afro-American artists have got to do something with you or your legend of the African inspiration Africa. He said there's so much that that you can do it will change your art. It will give you a direction. And. Immediately I went to. The black subject and did Gennie a painting which is now in the collection of the Howard University Gallery. And then I did my victim at that time in 1940. We were having lynchings and I was very very much
moved by what was happening and I needed a model to do the painting the lynch the lynching. And I discovered the model down on New Street and it's an old man. I guess he must have been certainly in his 70s. I was walking along the street with two guitars on his back and a long kind of raggedy looking overcoat a slouched black hat and under that hat I caught the expression of his eyes. It was just the type I wanted for the painting. And I went up to him and. I asked him I said Has anybody ever made a sketch of you. And I just didn't understand what that was all about. I said this is my address if you come to. My studio I'm going to make a picture of you. And so in two days
Harry came to my studio and I was a little afraid at first but I did that. It turned out that he was a wonderful old gentleman. Was he home. Was he homeless at the time. Well he was poor Ok very poor. I learned and I told him I wanted to do a painting of a man about to be lynched. So I said you know you have to take off your coat open your shirt and I'm going to tie your hand to it for it to be really very funny. He was wondering you know what is this when I go to jail that day it ended up he said. But. He said I worked on a plantation in the south. And I have seen one of my brothers lynched. I said Well tell me about it. And he said Well I.M. put us in the wagon and put him in the wagon with his hands tied and. Took us to the tree
I said how did he look. He said Oh. He just fastened his eyes on me. And I said Don't move. It's just a pose. And so it was that I just felt you know what I wanted to put on that canvas and the painting in oil on canvas is quite famous today. And he went on to be a model for you. He posed for so many other studies. The janitor. This one the pink tablecloth for sitting in the cafe restaurant eating. Oh he was wonderful. Yes. Lola so far we've talked about this marvelous career that you had that you are having. But there's one thing missing the great love of your life. There was a great love. Very true. That's very true. Yes. Well I realized when I was teaching it out that I would like to have a degree
and then I went in the summer up to Columbia University and. I remember in the design class there was a young man who was majoring in design. He had an accent. I remember he was very tall very handsome. I can always remember him it isn't summer yet on this lovely white linen suit and this little string black tie and he was very elegant. And I remember he came over to my table and he mentioned that he liked my design and then he went on to say that he was living at the International House and that he told them he wanted to see Harlem because he was there from Haiti on the fallen ship in his name. And you know well so that he mentioned to me that they told me don't go to Harlem. Those people are terrible people. You should
not go he said but I see you have a little car. Would you take me to Harlem. Well of course I was delighted. And so what was that. I told my two boys and my cousin I'm sorry who was the wife of Thomas mostly the leading man in the Lafayette but with a laugh yet players. She was from the Datchet islands and she knew how to cook rice and beans and that type of thing. And I asked her to make a dinner that I was going to bring my new friend. And so it was. It's got to be sort of a romance kind of sort. And we went to exhibit's together and he saw Harlem and we went dancing and we had a wonderful wonderful time and then the summer school was over and I told him I have to return to Howard University and all and that was the unfortunate separation.
But I never forgot here. And I always kept the picture you gave me the photograph on my dresser and then we corresponded and the time went and when. He had gone back to Haiti. But I never forgot him. Would it be safe to say that you had fallen in love with him but didn't realize it. I realized it but the career was so strong that I was still driving towards that goal that my my dear mother had said that you know you you decided you wanted to be an artist and just don't let anything interfere. So it was that it was the painting which sort of came first. But didn't your mother get kind of concerned after so many pages. That was what happened and she came to. WASHINGTON that she did very often to stay with me and she said Lois and I always told you don't let anything interfere with your career. It didn't do
that thing you want to do. But I'm a little worried. She said that. You're getting so many paintings around you. I think you've better be thinking about getting married. And of course that was a shock. I I knew I had always admirers and. And the agenda and the friends and all. Sometimes they ask me Can you cook. And that was something that made me think twice about it. But it did really allow me to get the fact that I had to be thinking about this so that it was that I was going back to France as I did every summer and to paint to prepare my work for the winter shows and so on. And I remember my mother called me and. She said it's a gentleman downstairs who has an accent. He seems to be somebody from the embassy. And I said. You
know well let's start the packing and all and. And when I went down to see what was there I stood up here and oh well now how many years was in between all of this. Well all of that really went into you know some 20 years I mean it it was a long time. Twenty nine twenty you know it couldn't have been because at that time. I was getting to be in the 40s now so that it was a long time a long time. And I do have to tell you the story. In the meantime I would be invited to the Haitian embassy. For affairs and all. And when I would go if someone had just come in from Haiti I would ask them. Do you know the artist you know well and invariably they would say oh yes the artist and then I would ask Do you know if he is married. And I told my breath and
then they'd say Xenophon's spy. And that was it. I don't think so. And that was really the good news that at least it was. So here he was you'd come back you see on a fellowship from Haiti and the first thing that he said when he embraced me was have you married yet and I asked the same question. Have you married. And he said no. And that was the beginning. And so he said let's just married. Well that's what it led to and it was planned that I would go on to Paris as a matter of fact. I was engaged to an artist in Paris. But it was going to be an interracial affair which I I knew in Washington was not going to be successful. And I thought that fear coming into my life was just at the right time. You had said that he would wait until I came
back and sure enough when I came back to the states he was waiting for me and we were planning the marriage in Paris right now. This is the second man who's had a major influence on your work. You went to Haiti and as a result of living in Haiti and looking at the lifestyle and the people that also influenced your paintings great. Oh it changed everything. I remember at the same time that Pierre had come back into my life the ambassador or the president of Haiti President MacGraw had invited me to go to. Make a series of paintings of the life of the people. The beauty of the country side and. To have an exhibit at the Pan-American Union during his official visit is against the president Eisenhower and with his wife. And I was also the teacher at the center dot and I told him at the embassy that
I would like to accept their invitation but that I was getting married. And I told him the gentleman was from Haiti and they said that's beautiful. We will give you a honeymoon in Haiti. Sure enough. Remember that really the hotel. Yes. Well they gave us a suite and also that after their marriage which took place in a little village up in the mountains above grass called the Caprice and there we had the most wonderful memory. I remember being persons of color. The mare of the year of the town. Had a large table in the center of the village and he came out in his full dress with his red then are crossed here and had champagne for everybody and it was a wonderful experience and it was there that
we decided after we came back to Haiti to complete the honeymoon that my whole palate changed. I mean the life of the people I mean going to the marketplace and seeing the color of the Van Doos that issue selling cloth then going to the voodoo rituals. I wanted to go to a real one and I remember my first experience of going to a real voodoo and seeing the younger draw of the of the of the beautiful designs of the God they were worshipping on the ground with corn meal. And I did a whole series of paintings using the Vevay and the bright colors and the countryside the beauty of the country. And I felt very much at home there. It was so much like Africa and I had been to Africa and I felt that that I could do my best work. I created the painting there and I did
my best training. The people are so proud and so wonderful. And so we go. I can still see the peasant women. Early in the morning coming down from the can scarf with the baskets on their heads and carrying things for the market for sale. And how elegant they are straight. They walk and I've done paintings of them and paintings of the children with their beautiful eyes their faces. And so that Haiti is very dear to me. I can tell when your husband first married you. He said that he wanted to complete your life. Did he do that. He certainly did. I mean that was the beauty of our companionship. You know I mean that we both were artists. We worked together and everything was so harmonious and.
It did complete my life with his career as successful as yours. He was internationally acclaimed. People used to design the stamps for the United Nations set one first once in the world and then he was the. The designer head designer at the World Health Organization here in Washington. And he would do the cover designs for the the booklets and things sent to South America and posters and all. He was very very talented. Was there ever any competition. Not really. I mean as a matter of fact. And we had a giant studio. In this house where we are today and. We called it the piano studio dot. And we did many many. Works for Howard University for their printed matter and designs cover designs
and. Worked with Howard University and many channels posters and that type of thing. You'd have a little family and no children and now your husband would you know teaching at Howard for 47 years. Kids I have children. I would travel going to Africa. I would use Howard Vista gave me a wonderful fellowship to visit 11 African countries and going travelling and all like that many times when I lecture for you as a. As invariably somebody would come up and say Do you remember me. I studied with at Howard University as architects and so on. So that I do have a lot of other I have a lot to take that back then. But what has sustained you through the years the love of what I'm doing. It hasn't been easy. I mean being a
woman and being black. Has been a double handicap. But I've never let it and into my work. Would have ruined by my work my career. So that I've lived above that. And and. I'm very. Proud of what I'm doing and is really setting the pace for those to follow me. Every piece of work that I do. I feel that. It can be shown in a museum I told my students that that whatever you do I mean it has to be. For excellence. And Elizabeth Catlett David Jesco and I can go on the name so many of the students I've studied with me who. I think. Have the same. Wish to be somebody in the field of art to make a contribution to American art. To say your legacy
is the legacy really. And. As you see from my work now it's sort of making a circle. Have you ever come to that we're going to come to that. I do want to ask you this. I mean you have been you ended your career at Howard University as Professor Emeritus after 47 years when you think back to those 47 years what comes to your mind. Well it was really. Quite a challenge to do the two things that is to have a career. And to learn and to teach and I really gave all that I could possibly give to my students and all of that comes back to me as I go through life. And. And it's. A very happy feeling to feel that. That I have that tried to do when I've done in paving the way and making it easier for those who follow.
Now this question is for all of those would be artists. How do you know when one. Has potential as an artist. Well you really find that. I mean that the way they express I mean that their ability to draw drawing is so basic however abstract they may be later or whatever. I mean. It has to be something that is coming from within that sincere. You can't teach somebody to be an artist. They either have it or if they have it they don't. I mean that's my philosophy I guess I don't have it but I can appreciate that you have done countless paintings have you ever counted them. Well it certainly has grown to a large number and when I look at my home here I mean my my 14:1 house. You've seen
all the walls are covered with paintings. And right now it's Schonberg museum has just opened an exhibit of 75 works called the world of Swails Jones which takes you on a walk through my life. I mean. You know just looking around your house I mean certainly there are just beautiful paintings and then of course the ones that are being exhibited in the museums. But how do you decide which ones are your favorite and so difficult. I mean there are so many of them. They all have a story I guess. You've gotten that from a very lively
exaggeration there I think is very evident. And then the stylisation the movement the anatomical portions the bodies of those women so that the whole thing. I mean it makes a very nice composition and toning the color the harmonization and the handling of the feet. I think he's a very individual and his expression is still my style was zation in handling of the lower area of the figure for example and the pose of the the head especially. I love that thinking. Right. That first one I think she's very beautiful in a dress. You know when I see all the work here in your home and I said why aren't these pieces in the museum. Do you sell them will you sell them. Will they go to a museum. What will you do with all this.
Well that's what I'm going through right now is. What's going to happen. To the paintings. I certainly want them to be in museums and. Certainly collectors I hope will have them and that they will be in the homes of some of our people I mean I would love them to live with my art. And. That's the thing that I'm doing now is. Trying to arrange how. The paintings can be broadly distributed and and really enjoyed by the people especially our people. All people I'd like it to be an international climax that they will be enjoyed and placed as they should be. The resurgence of Afro centrism in American culture has probably contributed
to the discovery of your works by a whole new a whole new group of people young people. How does it make you feel to think that you are influencing yet another generation. Well it's a wonderful feeling. And to actually see it happening. I mean. As I look over the many many hundreds of students who passed by me and to see the contribution that they're making it certainly was worthwhile. What I did and how with the students that you have taught and some of the work you've seen do you see Lois Jones in any of their work. I think I'm going to have to say yes. I think. If you look at David diskless work. Even. As some of the others demand Bullock and the others who've said that there's a little
something as they have mentioned to me. As I just said the other day I'm trying to think of her name she's going to have a one woman show at the women's video Silvius no. And you know I took my students to Paris in 62. I had had the experience I had gone and I thought that the students should have that exposure. So about 23 of them went at the summer of 62 to Paris and I put them in school. They went to the Academy did a grand show on the air and they all got certificates for three weeks they studied and then I took them on that tour so they could see the maties chapel for example to walk through what to walk through. No to. They had seen these things on the screen in art history but I wanted them to live it. And so it was that I took them in just yesterday I talked to Sylvia Snowdon who's going to have the one woman
show at the Women's Museum here in Washington. And I'm so proud of her. And she mentioned what it meant to have worked with me. And. What it will mean to go on after me as just one of the many hundreds you know we were talking about the the changes that your work has gone through and the people that have influenced her. Now I think it would be safe to say that you've probably come full circle now wouldn't you. It looks that way that coming leaving impressionism and going back to Hardage painting and much design. And that was when I did you see in those early days in the textiles. So then it is really making a circle and also thinking of al-Ain Locke and his prophecies that. You have to
think of. Your legacy and how much you really can put into your work. And that's what I'm doing in these paintings that that you see here the later works. And it's really my legacy. You know you. Can. It's been 70 years since it first exhibition at the age of 17 because that's when you really knew that and I went to pay you to take it seriously. Right. You're still going strong words. How do you two so many Oscar they don't feel that I look 87 which happened just November 3rd you know. I think it's. I'm very happy in what I'm doing. I love my work. And. I'm going on with it as someone asked me up at Radcliffe. Are you still painting. And that was a shock of course but still I thought what else would I be doing. Like
all the others Matisse fake kaso and all painted till the last day. This is there. Either. That's when they got China. And. You know when the Haitian Haitian I mean when a. Godly woman wants to have a baby. She wears this in her girdle tied around her waist you know and like this in the back. Right. Hope that will help to make the baby on her mind. So it's a very interesting symbol this Akaba like Ramadan. It's like a fertility doctor tell it all. Exactly. All right. Now after turning 87 I don't feel like. I can get back to the easel and. I have to. Be quiet to do that. I hope it can be 80. I'm
just hoping that I can go back to my studio there because their. Haiti is Africa. I mean the people the life the color the whole thing. And. It gives me inspiration. What is your best time to paint. And believe it or not. It begins about midnight is 12 o'clock 2 o'clock 3 o'clock. Poor Pierre used to come. To this studio in Haiti and say where do you come in. But you were just getting through just getting warmed up and sometimes I would get paid to do until 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning when it's dead quiet and I can think and feel what I'm doing. You're described as the consummate artist the artist with international vision but you are an American artist. Well that's the thing I might say that I have really hoped for. I mean for so many
years that was Wallace Maalouf JONES The Black Woman artist and now it's the African-American artists or the Afro-American. I'm very proud to be. Don't misunderstand me that that I'm not proud of that. They made me a legend. I mean I am very happy of that background but as Jacob Lawrence has in his book Jacob Lawrence American painter. And that's what I wish to be remembered as slowish Jones an American painter. Good. And.
And. Not just that you're wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Wrong wrong. Wrong. Wrong wrong. Wrong.
- Contributing Organization
- WHUT (Washington, District of Columbia)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This record is part of the Visual Art section of the Souls of Black Identity special collection.
- Program Description
- Lois Mailou Jones, who broke many barriers as a female African American artist is interviewed. She recounts her life as an artist and a Black woman from the early 1900s on. Included are stories about close friends, such as Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Alain Locke, and Josephine Baker among others. Jones goes into detail about how living abroad differed from living in the racial climate of the United States
- Created Date
- Asset type
- WHUT owns rightsWHUT may have rights documentation for the material.
- Media type
- Moving Image
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
WHUT-TV (Howard University Television)
Format: Betacam: SP
WHUT-TV (Howard University Television)
Identifier: HUT00000016001 (WHUT)
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- Chicago: “Pioneer of Color: A Conversation with Lois Mailou Jones,” 1993-00-00, WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-293-t727941d1q.
- MLA: “Pioneer of Color: A Conversation with Lois Mailou Jones.” 1993-00-00. WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-293-t727941d1q>.
- APA: Pioneer of Color: A Conversation with Lois Mailou Jones. Boston, MA: WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-293-t727941d1q