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Jacob Lawrence, American, 1917 - 2000

Made in United States, North and Central America


Tempera on hardboard

27 3/4 x 31 7/8 inches (70.5 x 81 cm)

© The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of the Zelda and Josef Jaffe Family, 2002

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Throughout his career, Lawrence demonstrated a passionate interest in African American history and in his people’s collective struggle for racial equality. Painted in vibrant colors, Taboo exemplifies the artist’s planar style and his lifelong concern for civil rights and justice. The two pairs of newlyweds are posed in the manner of a traditional wedding portrait. However, as the title indicates, Lawrence’s couples have had to overcome the obstacles of legal and societal censure, breaking the taboo against marrying outside of their race.