Works in the Collection
Dox Thrash was born in 1893 in Griffin, Georgia. He left Georgia at the age of fifteen in search of work up North. He moved to Chicago and worked during the day as an elevator operator to fund his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. His studies were interrupted by World War I, and served for a year as a member of the famous all-black 92nd Division “Buffalo Soldiers”, in France. He suffered a gas attack and shell shock but was not permanently injured. While recuperating, Thrash became a member of a vaudeville act that performed at military hospitals. He continued to tour the vaudeville circuit in America before returning to full-time studies at the Art Institute. Thrash also studied with William Edouard Scott, an established African American painter and muralist and recent Art Institute graduate. From 1936-1939, at the height of the Depression, Thrash joined Philadelphia’s government-sponsored WPA sponsored Philadelphia Fine Print Workshop. It was there that he invented the print process of carborundum mezzotint.
Thrash was a member of the Tra Club and the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia and was praised by such prominent African-American intellectuals as Alain Locke and W. E. B. Dubois. His work can be found in the collections of Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The artist died in 1965.