Joseph Norman: Works from the Permanent Collection

Curated by Dr. Francine Weiss

October 15, 2022 - April 16, 2023

Ilgenfritz, Corridor, and Wright Galleries

Joseph Norman is an important American artist whose career as a printmaker and painter spans over forty years. He is also considered by many art historians to be the most important African American lithographer of his generation. Currently a Professor of Art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia, Norman began his career in the 1980s teaching and exhibiting at the Newport Art Museum. Over the years, the Museum has been fortunate to acquire 61 paintings and prints by Norman, making it the largest museum collection of the artist’s work. 

This exhibition showcases a selection of Norman’s prints and paintings from the Museum’s permanent collection along with recent works on loan from the artist. These works include prints from the series “Wandering Muse,” “Tenements,” and “Out at Home: Negro Baseball League” among others. Throughout his career, Norman has tackled many subjects and issues, such as racial identity, portraiture, self-portraiture, history, and place. Blurring the boundaries between realism and abstraction, Norman makes powerful and evocative works of art predominantly in black and white. With their characteristically dense compositions of forms, Norman’s works are layered with metaphor and meaning. This exhibition includes three of Norman’s rarely seen large lithographic triptychs inspired by personal events, nature, and Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. From his small detailed prints to large narrative works, Norman shows his mastery of printmaking, painting, and storytelling.


About the Artist

Joseph Norman was born in Chicago in 1957 as the fifth of six children to parents who were the grandchildren of slaves. After earning his M.A. at the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. at the University of Cincinnati in 1986, he moved to Rhode Island to launch his career. It was then that he began teaching and exhibiting at the Newport Art Museum.

Norman is a Professor of Art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia where has also served as the Chairman of the Painting and Drawing Department and Founder of Study Abroad in Latin America, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. A world class draftsman and printmaker, he has works of art in museum collections around the country, including the MoMA, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the RISD Museum among others.

Exhibition Resources

Explore exhibition content more deeply through articles, books, films, glossaries, and more, compiled to encourage dialogue and learning.

Virtual Artist Talk with Joseph Norman and Senior Curator Dr. Francine Weiss

Panel Discussion with Joseph Norman at the Newport Art Museum