William Edward Burghardt Du Bois: American\African American
The Harmon Foundation, a philanthropic organization that was based in New York City and active from 1922-1967, included this portrait in its exhibition “Portraits of Outstanding Americans of Negro Origins,” which documented noteworthy African Americans’ contributions to the country. Modeling its goal of social equality, the Harmon Foundation sought portraits from an African-American artist, Laura Wheeler Waring, and a Euro-American artist, Betsy Graves Reyneau. The two painters followed the conventional codes of academic portraiture, seeking to convey their sitters’ extraordinary accomplishments. Accompanied by a variety of educational materials, this painting toured nation-wide for ten years, from 1944-1954, and served as a visual rebuttal to racism.
Walter Waring, husband of artist, gift 1967 to NPG through the Harmon Foundation.