American, (1917–2000) General Toussaint L'Ouverture, 1986
Screen print on paper
32 1/8 x 22 in. (81.6 x 55.88 cm)
Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund, 2020
This print is one of 15 created by Jacob Lawrence between 1986 and 1997 based on the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, the formerly enslaved man who became a leader in the Haitian Revolution, the only successful slave rebellion in history to result in the founding of a new nation, the Republic of Haiti, in 1804.
The prints themselves are based on a series of paintings Lawrence created between 1936 and 1938, his first series based on a single subject. He chose to depict the life of L’Ouverture due to the absence of important Black leaders in the history books he had read in school. There are 41 paintings in the original series, now preserved in the collection of the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans.