Dominique and John de Menil

About the Series

John and Dominique de Menil were vocal champions of human rights worldwide, focusing their actions on civil rights in particular. In 1960 they launched the ambitious scholarly research project The Image of the Black in Western Art, directed by art historian Ladislas Bugner. Spanning nearly 5,000 years and documenting virtually all forms of media, the unprecedented research project was devoted to the systematic investigation of how people of African descent have been perceived and represented in art. For the first thirty years of its existence, the project focused on the production of a prize-winning, four-volume series of generously illustrated books, The Image of the Black in Western Art. Now, fifty years later, Dominique de Menil’s mission has been reinvigorated through the collaboration of Harvard University Press and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research to present new editions of the coveted five original books, as well as an additional five volumes.

Design & Production

Harvard University Press’s design and production teams are committed to the very highest standards of publishing, and all of the books for The Image of the Black in Western Art have been completely redesigned and typeset to enhance the experience for the reader. So that the artworks can be reproduced as accurately and vividly as possible, we have gone back to the sources for new digital files of all of the thousands of images.

The entire series will print in full color throughout, whereas the original volumes were printed with only scattered color. Harvard University Press will be printing the books on high-quality art stock to further enhance the excellence of the reproductions. The books are designed to print all text in a fifth-color black with no knockout type—which will maintain the fidelity of the images when printing volumes for translating publishers.

About the Books

In the 1960s, as a response to segregation in the United States, the influential art patron Dominique de Menil began a research project and photo archive called The Image of the Black in Western Art. Now, fifty years later, as the first American president of African American descent serves his historic term in office, her mission has been re-invigorated through the collaboration of Harvard University Press and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research to present new editions of the coveted five original books, as well as an additional five volumes.

News

The Image of the Black in Western Art: The Twentieth Century: The Impact of Africa, Volume 5.1 The National Gallery of Art hosted a panel discussion marking the publication of The Image of the Black in Western Art: The Twentieth Century: The Impact of Africa, Volume 5.1.