Frederick C. Flemister (19171976)
Oil on canvas, 1941

Private collection

Frederick Flemister’s 1941 self-portrait shows him in contemporary dress, but his pose and the landscape background reveal his desire to associate himself with the artistic traditions of the Italian Renaissance.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1935 Flemister entered Morehouse College, where he studied with the eminent African American artist Hale A. Woodruff.

Upon graduation, Flemister spent a year (1940–41) at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis and then returned to teach at Clark Atlanta University.

Military service interrupted his career in 1942. In February 1944, Flemister participated in an exhibition at the Barnett Aden Gallery in Washington, D.C., called “The Negro in Art.”

Little else is known about his artistic output after World War II, but his early work continues to be included in major survey exhibitions of African American art.