Works in the Collection
Laura Wheeler Waring was born in 1887 in Hartford, Connecticut, and began painting at an early age. She studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and supplemented her education with summer courses at Harvard and Columbia Universities. After a brief trip abroad, Waring began teaching at the all-black Cheyney Training School for teachers (now called Cheyney University). She would continue at Cheyney for the rest of her life, working as the Head of the Department of Art and Music, where she established many programs. A quiet but active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, Laura Wheeler Waring was a member of the Urban League and the NAACP. She often illustrated for the NAACP’s magazine “The Crisis”, and it’s children’s publication, “The Brownies’ Book”.
Waring is best known for her portraiture, which often depicted notable African Americans such as W. E. B. Dubois, Marian Anderson, Jessie Fauset and James Weldon Johnson. In 1927, the Harmon Foundation awarded her the gold medal for Distinguished Achievement Among Negroes, and in 1943, commissioned her to paint the series “Portraits of Outstanding American Citizens of Negro Origin”. Waring achieved significant acclaim throughout her career, exhibiting with such institutions as the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., the Brooklyn Museum, The Galerie du Luxembourg, Paris, and the Howard University Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.