Image Conscious: Jasmine Sanders on the Black Romantic
Ernie Barnes, The Sugar Shack, 1976. Image from ArtForum.
In an article for ArtForum, Jasmine Sanders reminisces on the style known as the Black Romantic, which is defined by themes of the home, spirituality, and religion. Direct sales companies such as Artistic Impressions popularized the Black Romantic style, giving Black artists access to financial stability and popular acclaim, while providing art-lovers with an affordable way to bring artwork into their own homes. Although the style has not always commanded much academic inquiry or attention, Sanders notes how the Black Romantic captures the cultural and political spirit of the 1970s and 80s.
“These were positive black images, almost like a form of black consciousness raising or protest, is how we saw it. We didn’t expect them to be popular or widely embraced.” - Aaron Hicks