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 Humbert L. Howard  (1905 - 1990)      Visit this Artist's Studio on AskART

About: Humbert L. Howard


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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/New York      Known for: figure, abstract urban landscape

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BIOGRAPHY for Humbert Howard
1905 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
1990 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Pennsylvania/New York

Self portrait - Self-portrait

Often Known For
figure, abstract urban landscape

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Humbert Howard of Philadelphia, born in 1905, is an important figure among contemporary African-American artists. Howard was educated at Howard University in Washington, D.C., the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. He was also art director of the Pyramid Club, a popular and respected black cultural center in Philadelphia. His integrationist approach to art broke down traditional boundaries that often had separated black and white artists. As director of the club's art exhibitions, he selected works by both black and white artists for display.

In the late fifties, because of changing politics within the organization, Howard's involvement with the Pyramid Club waned. At that time, he began studies at the Barnes Foundation, which he continued through 1961. The experience had a tremendous impact on him, revealed in the growing exaggeration, distortion, and abstraction of forms that became evident in his work of this period.

Although Howard enjoyed success as an artist, he worked as a mail carrier to "further of my favorite pastimes - eating." By the time he retired in 1971, he had developed a loyal following of collectors and dealers in the Philadelphia area. In the eighties, he became increasingly involved with younger members of the local art scene. Often called the "dean of Philadelphia's black artists," he hosted meetings of the local chapter of the National Conference of Black Artists in his Hamilton Street living room.

At the time of his death in 1990 Humbert Howard had become a mentor to emerging black artists. Ernest Berry, a long time friend and collector of Howard's work, said, "He was not just a painter. He was a person who believed in sharing his feelings with people through his painting. He was the kindest friend I had ever had in the art world."

Mr. Howard's paintings are part of the permanent collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, the Museum of the Philadelphia Civic Center and the Philadelphia Afro-American Museum.

Source: Karlie Corporation

Biography from Newman Galleries:
Humbert Howard was born in Philadelphia in 1915.  He began his studies at Howard University and transferred his senior year to the University of Pennsylvania.  He later studied at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania, and at the International Academy of Arts and Letters in Rome, where he was awarded an honorary degree.

During the 1930's, Howard participated in the Philadelphia Work Progress Administration's Art project (WPA).  While there, he painted a landscape that was one of the two selected for the exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.  He exhibited extensively, showing at: the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1950, 1952, and 1953, with a one-man show in 1951; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1954; the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 1958 (one-man); the Philadelphia Sketch Club; the Philadelphia Pyramid Club (one-man); Temple University; the Free Public Library of Philadelphia; Howard University (one-man); the William Penn Memorial Museum, 1970 and 1977; and the International Academy of Arts and Letters in 1970, where he won a Silver Medal.

In 1940, Howard became Director of the Pyramid Club, a prominent African-American cultural center in Philadelphia.  He was also a member of: the Artists Equity Association, the Peale Club, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Fine Arts.  He also taught painting at the Allen's Lane Art Center in Philadelphia.

The artist's work is in numerous public and private collections, including: the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and Howard University.

The artist died in 1990.

A retrospective exhibition in honor of Humbert Howard's work was held in 1966 at the Levy Gallery of Arts at the Moore College of Art, Philadelphia.

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