2nd lost Jacob Lawrence painting found, 3 more remain missing

This undated picture from the Peabody Essex Museum shows the painting from 1956 “Immigrants Admitted from All Countries: 1820-1840 – 115,773”, plate 28 from a private collection of a series of 30 plates entitled “Struggle: From the History of the American People”, ”By black American artist Jacob Lawrence. The panel has been missing for more than sixty years, but the museum said Tuesday it was discovered in New York and would be on a national exhibition tour of the series. The positions of three other missing panels are unknown. (Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York / Peabody Essex Museum via AP)

SALEM, Mass. (AP) – A second plaque in a comprehensive series by American artist Jacob Lawrence, “Struggle: From the History of the American People”, has been found, the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts said Tuesday.

The painting known as panel 28 with the official title “Immigrants from all countries: 1820 to 1840 – 115,773” had not been on public display since 1960 and was only known through a black and white reproduction.

“We are very excited about news of this important discovery, especially at a time when Americans are actively promoting democracy,” said Lydia Gordon, the museum’s assistant curator, in a statement. The Salem-based Peabody Essex Museum organized the exhibition.

The painting will now be used, along with nearly 30 other works by the black artist painted in the 1950s, for the final two stops on a national tour of Seattle and Washington, DC, museum officials said. The 30-part series remains incomplete as the whereabouts of three panels remains a mystery, the museum said.

The 12 “x 16” plaque was found in an apartment in New York City, as was another painting in the series, Panel 16, which was rediscovered in another house in October. The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, inherited panel 28 from his family, who – like the figures shown – were immigrants.

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The egg tempera on hardboard in bright reds and yellows shows two women in handkerchiefs clutching babies, one of whom is breastfeeding, and a man wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a flower pot with a single red rose, America’s national flower Hand holding. The motifs have oversized hands that symbolize what it means to arrive with just what can be worn, the museum said.

It was inspired by a table of immigration statistics published in Richard B. Morris’ Encyclopedia of American History.

“Lawrence created this work during the modern civil rights era to interpret key moments in the American Revolution and the early decades of the Republic as ongoing struggles,” said Gordon.

The panel has been restored and will be on view at the Seattle Art Museum from Friday until May 23 in the Struggle: From the History of the American People exhibition and in the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC from June 26 until September 19th.

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It is the first time in more than 60 years that the pieces have been shown together.

Museum officials hope that the discovery of panels 28 and 16 – the Shays’ Rebellion, the tax revolt from 1786 to 1787 in western Massachusetts, leads to the discovery of the three panels that are still missing.

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