Harlem Girl

Fritz Winhold Reiss (American, 1886-1953), "Harlem Girl, I," ca. 1925, Pencil, charcoal, and pastels on heavy illustration board, Gift of Mr. W. Tjark Reiss, Hudson, N.Y. (78.183) 

Harlem Boy

Fritz Winhold Reiss (American, 1886-1953), "Harlem Boy," ca. 1925, Pencil, charcoal, pastels, and crayon on light buff paper, Gift of Mr. W. Tjark Reiss, Hudson, N.Y. (78.182) 

Two of the Museum of Art and Archaeology’s (MA&A) drawings are back home after a visit to New York City. 

"Harlem Girl, I" and "Harlem Boy" were loaned to The New-York Historical Society for their exhibition of German American artist Fritz Winold Reiss’ work. On view July 1 – October 9, 2022, The Art of Winold Reiss: An Immigrant Modernist featured more than 150 of paintings, drawings, and design and decorative artwork by Reiss, including the MA&A’s two drawings.  

Take a video tour of the exhibition here. The museum’s two loaned works can be seen beginning at the 4:13 minute mark of the video. Read about the well-reviewed exhibition here

German-born Reiss studied art at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Applied Arts in Munich and was drawn to the United States because of its ethnic diversity. The artist played an important role in the construction of the African American image in the 1920s, and his portrayals of African Americans who lived in Harlem were at odds with the stereotyped caricatures that were still prevalent in America. Reiss met and chose his models from a cross-section of the African American community: laborers, singers, ministers, sociologists, and children, including the girl in the portrait loaned by the MA&A for this exhibition. 

The Art of Winold Reiss was organized by The New-York Historical Society’s curators Marilyn Satin Kushner (prints, photographs, and architectural collections) and Debra Schmidt Bach (decorative arts and special exhibitions), with contributions from Wendy Nalani E. Ikemoto (senior curator of American art). Find out more at https://www.nyhistory.org/press/works-of-winold-reiss