ALMA THOMAS IS RECOGNIZED for her masterful use of color, pattern, and rhythm. With cascading columns of color raining down on a large-scale canvas, “The Eagle Has Landed” (1970-71) is a prominent example of her famed Space paintings. Dominated by vertical planes of blue-toned dabs, the abstract work was inspired by the first moon landing more than half a century ago in 1969.

In a statement a few years later, Thomas said, “With the success of Apollo 11, man accomplished his greatest achievement. Emerging from The Eagle, our astronauts were the first men to walk upon the surface of the moon. This motivated the paintings: ‘The Eagle Has Landed,’ ‘The Lunar Surface,’ and ‘Man Walks On The Moon.’”

 


ALMA THOMAS, “The Eagle Has Landed,” 1970-71 (acrylic on canvas, 50 1/4 × 50 1/8 inches), Private Collection. | Alma Thomas 2023 Wall Calendar, Published by Pomegranate

 

“The Eagle Has Landed” was featured in the recent traveling exhibition “Alma Thomas: Everything is Beautiful” and now graces the cover of a 2023 wall calendar dedicated to the beloved artist.

For the first time, calendars celebrating the work of Thomas and Faith Ringgold were produced for 2022. It was a notable occasion, given the dearth of calendars over the years focusing on Black women artists. With a new year on the horizon, both of the popular and critically acclaimed artists are the subject of calendars again, for 2023.

The work of Winfred Rembert also graces a new 2023 calendar. Rembert made narrative paintings on tooled leather and only began to see heightened regard for his work a the end of his life. He died in 2021 at the age of 85. Perennially recognized artists Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden are the focus of new calendars, too. Meanwhile, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History is highlighting a rising talent, choosing the work of contemporary quilt artist Bisa Butler for the cover of its 2023 calendar, a survey of African American art from its collection, by a variety of artists.

A selection of 2023 wall calendars that celebrate African American art throughout the year follows:

 


The Alma Thomas calendar features a spectrum of works dating from circa 1960 to 1977. | Alma Thomas 2023 Wall Calendar, Published by Pomegranate

 
Alma Thomas 2023 Wall Calendar

Born in Columbus, Ga., Alma Thomas spent nearly her entire adult life and career in Washington, D.C., where space, nature, and floral gardens inspired her abstract works. Selections included in the calendar were featured in “Alma Thomas: Everything is Beautiful,” the artist’s recent traveling exhibition and accompanying catalog. The works were drawn from Fisk University and Tougaloo College, both HBCUs, and the Columbus Museum, Thomas’s hometown museum and co-organizer of the exhibition, among other public and private collections.

 


FAITH RINGGOLD, “American People Series #16, Woman Looking in a Mirror,” 1966 (oil on canvas, 36 x 32 inches). © Faith Ringgold. | Faith Ringgold 2023 Wall Calendar, Published by Pomegranate

 
Faith Ringgold 2023 Wall Calendar

Harlem-born, New Jersey-based Faith Ringgold makes insightful works that speak to American race, culture, and politics; the experiences of women; and her own narrative. Spanning the arc of her ongoing career, the calendar features paintings, prints, and quilt works dating from 1966 to 2010. The earliest work, “Woman Looking in a Mirror” (1966), from the artist’s American People series, graces the cover. Dorian Bergen, Ringgold’s dealer at ACA Galleries, recently told Artnet News that the painting “explores Black female subjectivity. In this work, Ringgold turns the gaze of the Black woman, often objectified in Western art, in on herself. This seminal work expresses Faith’s struggle to claim a place for herself within the white supremacist and misogynistic history of art.”

 


ROMARE BEARDEN, Thank You for…FUML (Funking Up My Life), 1978 (collage of various papers with ink and graphite on fiberboard, 15 x 18 3/8 inches). | Romare Bearden 2023 Wall Calendar, Published by Pomegranate

 
Romare Bearden 2023 Wall Calendar

A towering presence in African American art, North Carolina-born Romare Bearden lived and worked in New York. Celebrated most notably for his complex collage works, his subjects reflected his Southern roots and wide variety of interests and experiences as a New York artist. The calendar includes figurative rural scenes and jazz compositions, an ode to Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Mountaintop’ speech, and Bearden’s Odysseus series. The cover image, “Thank You for…FUML (Funking Up My Life),” was made to illustrate trumpeter Donald Byrd’s 1978 album of the same name.

 


WINFRED REMBERT, “Sugar Cane (Patsy’s Mother),” 2008 (dye on carved and tooled leather, 26 3/4 x 21 1/4). | Winfred Rembert 2023 Wall Calendar, Published by Pomegranate

 
Winfred Rembert 2023 Wall Calendar

Working with carved and tooled leather, Winfred Rembert (1945-2021) painted vivid scenes of the segregated South—cotton fields, chain gangs, pool halls, and church services. The images reflect his memories of growing up, a hardscrabble existence in rural Cuthbert, Ga. When Rembert died last year, he was living and working in New Haven, Conn. His posthumously published memoir, “Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South,” won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in biography. The images included in the calendar are overwhelmingly positive focusing mostly on celebration and community, rather violence and struggle.

 

 
Jacob Lawrence 2023 Wall Calendar

A renowned figure in 20th century art, Jacob Lawrence grew up in Harlem where he observed the people and scenes that would become his subjects and studied with artists from whom he gained the skills and confidence to establish his own style. The calendar focuses on paintings by Lawrence that document ordinary African American life, with titles such as “University,” “Shoemaker,” “Free Clinic,” and “Pool Parlor,” “Strike” (about baseball), and “The Wedding.” Dating from 1937 to 1988-89, the works are drawn from several collections, including three HBCUs: Howard University, Bennett College, and Clark-Atlanta University.

 


ROMARE BEARDEN, “The Lamp,” 1984. African American Art 2023 Wall Calendar, Published by Pomegranate

 
African American Art 2023 Wall Calendar

This calendar features works by a diverse, multigenerational group of highly regarded artists working in a variety of styles from abstraction to figuration, including Melvin Gray Johnson, Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence to Alma Thomas, Charles White, and Charles Porter. Among the highlights are Faith Ringgold’s “Women Free Angela” (1971) and “The Lamp” by Romare Bearden, which was produced in limited-edition prints to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and appears on the cover.

 


BISA BUTLER, “I Go To Prepare A Place For You,” 2021 (cotton, silk and velvet, 90 3/4 × 64 1/2 × 1/4 inches / 230.5 × 163.8 × 0.6 cm). @ Bisa Butler, Collection National Museum of African American History and Culture. | African American Art 2023 Wall Calendar, Published by Universe Publishing

 
NMAAHC African American Art 2023 Wall Calendar

Last year, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., acquired “I Go To Prepare A Place For You” (2021) by Bisa Butler. The quilted portrait of Harriet Tubman appears on the cover of the calendar, which also features additional works from the Smithsonian museum’s collection by artists Charles Alston, Alvin Carl Hollingsworth, Wadsworth Jerrell, Fahamu Pecou, Lorna Simpson, Merton Simpson, and Lava Thomas, among others.

 

In addition, the Museum of Modern Art’s 2023 Modern Art Calendar, includes works by Julie Mehretu, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Alma Thomas, and the 2023 New York in Art Calendar published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art features works by Lawrence and Bearden, whose 18-foot-long collage “The Block” (1971) graces the cover. CT

 

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