Biography
“Loïs Mailou Jones is one of the few figures in American art to achieve a long, exciting and inspiring career in which there is no room for defeat, dullness and trickery. Whether it is the Loïs Jones of the fifties and sixties watching Peasants on Parade, Haïti, or the Loïs Jones of today reflecting on Dahomey or the Ubi Girl from Tai Region, it is always the Loïs Jones in full control of her design and her colors…”
— Edmund B. Gaither, Curator at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, 1972

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

November 3, 2014 – January 30, 2015
200 I Street Gallery – 200 I Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Boston, MA
January 19, 2013 - October 14, 2013

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Washington, DC
October 10, 2010 - January 9, 2011

Mint Museum of Art

Charlotte, NC
November 14, 2009 - February 28, 2010

Hunter Museum of American Art

Chattanooga, TN
January 30, 2011 - April 24, 2011

Polk Museum of Art

Lakeland, FL
July 3, 2010 - September 26, 2010

Huntsville Museum of Art

Huntsville, AL
February 3, 2013 - March 31, 2013
  • November 3, 2014 – January 30, 2015 
200 I Street Gallery – 200 I Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • Boston, MAJanuary 19, 2013 - October 14, 2013
  • Washington, DCOctober 10, 2010 - January 9, 2011
  • Charlotte, NC
November 14, 2009 - February 28, 2010
  • Chattanooga, TNJanuary 30, 2011 - April 24, 2011
  • Lakeland, FLJuly 3, 2010 - September 26, 2010
  • Huntsville, ALFebruary 3, 2013 - March 31, 2013

Loïs Mailou Jones (b. November 3, 1905 Boston, MA. - d. June 9, 1998 Washington, D.C.) wanted to be remembered as an artist, not an African-American or woman artist. Her life spanned almost all of the twentieth century—a time of unprecedented changes in American history—and she was an active participant in the development of African-American influence in the arts.  Loïs Mailou Jones is a trailblazer, a respected college professor, an artist ambassador, and an international expert on culture who documented everything she saw and did as a painter in the Harlem Renaissance, as an illustrator for Carter Woodson, a colleague of Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, an educator and mentor, and a champion of black artists in Africa and the Caribbean.

Along with being an award-winning artist, Loïs became known as a tireless advocate for international artists, especially for Africans and Haitians who would not have been known outside of their own countries without her help.  Loïs’ first four-month visit to eleven African countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal) resulted in new cultural understandings for Americans and Africans, and she continued making those personal and political connections for the rest of her life. Her archive of over 1000 slides and other information are an important source of African and Caribbean art history.

Loïs was fond of saying, "At 90, I arrived!"  Lois was invited to the White House eight times, she visited and spoke at 15 foreign embassies, many dozens of college campuses and international events. She was one of the longest living artists of the Harlem Renaissance, but is only now being recognized and studied as a trailblazer in the Civil Rights movement.  She knew many heads of state personally, painted their official portraits, and received their awards and citations. Today her work is in public buildings, museums and private homes all over the world.  Loïs Mailous Jones is known as an artist, without any additional limiting descriptions.