Jacob Lawrence is renowned for his paintings which traditionally attract the attention of the audience and comprised unexpected and bright combinations of colors to convey ideas and emotions of the artist to the audience. Lawrence’s paintings are traditionally full of colors that mirror the thematic background of many of his paintings, such as “General Toussaint L’Ouverture Defeats the English at Saline”ť (1937-1938). In fact, this painting is one of many paintings created by the artist which mirror the struggle of the aboriginal people of Africa against English or European oppressors and colonists. In this respect, it is possible to trace implied lines which give insight to the personal attitude of the artist to the subject of his painting and, what is more, they contain the appeal to the audience to start action against the oppression.
As the matter of fact, the implied lines can be easily traced through the combination of bright, contrasting colors.
Lawrence intentionally uses dark, black color in a combination with bright colors such as red and white, which stress the image of the General Toussaint. At the same time, such a combination of colors is quite symbolic, taking into consideration the African background of General Toussaint. In this regard, Lawrence uses bright colors which are traditional for African culture. On the other hand, the European fashion seems to be ironic in the context of the painting because it shows the extent to which Europeans underestimated Africans, who proved to be gifted and very intelligent people as General Toussaint. Moreover, such an image conveys the internal struggle of General Toussaint, who tears between his African origin and European influences.
Thus, the painting reveals the original message and emotions of the artist.