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Summary

<p>Paul Keene. James A. Michener Art Museum archives. </p>

"Through deeply personal pictures Paul Keene brings together the painter's visceral love of color with the mystery of memory and the subconscious mind. Mr. Keene is a quiet man who chooses to speak with line, shape, and-most passionately-with color. Always avoiding the didactic, he gives us hints and suggestions, then leaves us to discover our own meaning in his work."
-Bruce Katsiff

Paul F. Keene, Jr. was a painter whose vibrantly colorful work told stories about the African American community in Philadelphia, as well as stories about his personal life. Keene explored the symbolism of African American life and culture in his paintings. He created new icons of black urban life with his portraits of jazz musicians and documentation of the movement and vitality present in city life.

Keene worked primarily with acrylic paints on paper and described his painting style as abstract realist. Color serves as the compositional key in the artist's work. His many window scenes and landscape studies demonstrate his skillful manipulation of scale, color, light, and atmosphere. He often utilized grid-based compositions juxtaposed against concentric circles of radiating color that the artist considered his unconscious, personal symbol.

Keene also taught painting and drawing at Bucks County Community College from 1968 to 1985, serving as the Art Department Chairperson for three years. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum. Keene's work was also exhibited in Paul Keene (1991), Paul Keene: His Art and His Legacy (2005), Art Speaks: Celebrating the Bucks County Intermediate Unit Collection (2010-2011), Facing Out, Facing In: Figurative Works from the Michener Art Museum Collection (2011), The Painterly Voice: Bucks County's Fertile Ground (2011-2012), and Parting Gifts: Artists Honor Bruce Katsiff, Director/CEO, 1989-2012 (2012) at the Michener Art Museum.

Click here for an interview with the artist.

Paul Keene. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.

Education & Community

<p>Paul and Laura Keene with Bruce Katsiff in his office. James A. Michener Art Museum.</p>

Education and Training
Philadelphia Museum School of Art (The University of the Arts), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1939-1941
Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1945-1948
Academie Julien, Paris, France, 1949-1951
B.F.A., B.S., M.F.A., Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Teachers and Influences
While Keene was in Europe from 1949 to 1951, he was part of a group of artists who exhibited at Gallery 8, organized by Bucks County sculptor Robert Rosenwald. Other members were Jules Olitski, Robert Kulicke, and Bill Rivers. He also became good friends with Romare Bearden.

Connection to Bucks County
Keene moved to Warrington, Bucks County in 1968. He worked as the Art Department Chairperson at Bucks County Community College from 1977 to 1980. Keene taught painting and drawing there until his retirement in 1985.

Colleagues and Affiliations
Bucks County colleagues include sculptor Robert Rosenwald and Neil Lieberman, a faculty member at Bucks County Community College and a collaborator on the Martin Luther King Freedom Memorial.

Paul and Laura Keene with Bruce Katsiff in his office. James A. Michener Art Museum.

Exhibitions

Major Exhibitions
Salon des Jeunne Pientres, Paris, 1951
Galerie Huit, Paris, France, 1950
Salon de Mai, Paris, France, 1951
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1952-1953, 1968-1969, 1970
Lagos Museum, Lagos, Nigeria, 1961, 1982
Woodmere Art Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1969
12th Annual Art Award Exhibit at Allen's Lane Art Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1970
Retrospective Exhibition, Wells College, Aurora, Pennsylvania, 1970
Master Series, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1971
2nd World Black Cultural and Art Festival, University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1974
Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania, 1974
Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1980
Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, 1984
Retrospective, Bucks County Community College, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 1985
Kenkeleba House, New York, New York, 1988
Hahn Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1990
Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1990
Icons, Myths, and Legends
, Afro-American Historical & Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1991; Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1991
Jules Bloch Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1992
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1992
Brandywine-Firehouse, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1993
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1993
Urban Walls: Paintings and Drawings, Rider University Gallery, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, 1995
Serial Images
, Brandywine Workshop, Brandywine, Pennsylvania
Paul Keene: A Journey of Creative Genius
, Lafayette College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2000
Paul Keene: His Art and His Legacy
, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2005
Objects of Desire: Treasures from Private Collections
, Michener Art Museum, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2005-2006
In Search of Missing Masters: The Lewis Tanner Collection of African American Art
, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, 2008-2009
An Evolving Legacy: Twenty Years of Collecting at the James A. Michener Art Museum
, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2009-2010

Collections & Commissions

Major Collections
Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
Dallas Museum, Dallas, Texas
Delaware Museum of Fine Arts, Wilmington, Delaware
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
Nigerian National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
St. Joseph's College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Commissions
Martin Luther King Freedom Memorial with Neil Lieberman, Fairmount Park Art Association, Philadelphia
59th Street Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1971
Franklin Mint, Coin of Scott Joplin, African American History Collection, 1980

Mural for the Johnson C. Smith University, Public Commission, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1982
Guild House West, Public Commission, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1980

Awards & Appointments

Teaching and Professional Appointments
M.S.A., Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1948
Director of Courses, Centre D'Art, Port au Prince, Haiti, 1952-1954
Associate Professor of Drawing and Painting, Philadelphia College of Art (now The University of the Arts), 1954-1968
Art Department Chairperson, Bucks County Community College, 1977- 1980
Professor of Drawing and Painting, Bucks County Community College, 1968-1985

Major Awards
John Hay Whitney Fellowship, 1952, 1954
Medal, American Negro Commemorative Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Alumni Award, Philadelphia College of Art, 1972
Van Der Zee Award, Brandywine Workshop, 1990
George Beach Pioneer Award, 1998

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