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Gwendolyn Knight Bio


Gwendolyn Knight (20 April 1914 - February 18, 2005) was an African American sculptor from Barbados, in the West Indies. Knight painted throughout her life, but she did not start seriously exhibiting her work until the 1970s. She would enjoy her first retrospective when she was nearly 80 years old (2003's "Never Late for Heaven: The Art of Gwen Knight," at the Tacoma Art Museum)[1]. Her mentors in the arts included the sculptor Augusta Savage (who obtained support for her from the Works Progress Administration) and Jacob Lawrence, whom she would marry in 1941 and remain married to until his death in 2000[2]. During the course of her career, she would receive many awards including the National Honor Award, and two honorary doctorate degrees. Together with her husband, Ms. Knight founded the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation in 2000, initially to support the careers of professional artists early in their careers. When Mr. Lawrence died, Gwendolyn Knight, emotionally and intellectually frail, disbanded the original foundation and changed her will so that most of the couple's assets went to support children's programs. Ms. Knight died in 2005 and today the Foundation's activities are limited largely to the maintenance of a website that had been developed in 2000 [3]. The U.S. copyright representative for the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation is the Artists Rights Society[4].

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