J’Accuse! Charles White

Tomorrow’s auction of African-American Fine Art offers an incredibly powerful drawing by Charles White, J’Accuse! No. 10 (Negro Woman).

The circular charcoal drawing depicting the faces of several African-American women was used on the cover of Ebony magazine in 1966. 

It is the first of the artist’s important works from his J’Accuse series to come to auction. The title comes from an Émile Zola article against anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus Affair, and White used it to reference the racism, discrimination and oppression faced by African Americans. The pages of Ebony’s special issue devoted to The Negro Woman, describe how African-American women in the 1960s were beginning to defy the female roles and stereotypes of the era. 

Echoing that theme of strong, heroic women is White’s iconic and monumental drawing General Moses (Harriet Tubman) which he completed for the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1965. It sold at Swann in October 2007.