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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1942

  • Work on this object began.

2021

2022

  • You found it!

Drawing, Illustration for Shakespeare in Harlem

This is a drawing. It was designed by E. McKnight Kauffer. It is dated 1942. Its medium is stylus on scratchboard. It is a part of the department.


Hughes was not pleased with Kauffer’s sample sketches for Shakespeare in Harlem. To close friends, he expressed concern with Kauffer’s ability, as a white artist, to draw Black people with accuracy and sensitivity. Hughes wrote particularly of his unease with how Kauffer depicted hair—an important aspect of Black culture and personal expression. However, Kauffer seems never to have been made aware of Hughes’s concerns.

It is credited Gift of Grace Schulman.

Its dimensions are

20.1 × 14.6 cm (7 15/16 × 5 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Drawing, Illustration for Shakespeare in Harlem; Designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer (American, active England, 1890–1954); stylus on scratchboard; 20.1 × 14.6 cm (7 15/16 × 5 3/4 in.); Gift of Grace Schulman; 1997-134-1-23

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805248/ |title=Drawing, Illustration for Shakespeare in Harlem |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 November 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>