Captain Skinner

Media - 1990.65 - SAAM-1990.65_1 - 11017
Copied Jacob Lawrence, Captain Skinner, 1944, gouache on paperboard, sheet: 29 1821 18 in. (74.053.7 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Carlton Skinner, 1990.65

Artwork Details

Captain Skinner
Not on view
sheet: 29 1821 18 in. (74.053.7 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Carlton Skinner
Mediums Description
gouache on paperboard
  • Occupation — military — captain
  • Architecture — boat
  • Portrait male — Skinner, Carlton, Capt. — head
Object Number

Artwork Description

Lawrence was drafted by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1943, but he was encouraged to continue painting by his first commanding officer, Captain J.S. Rosenthal, and later by Captain Charlton Skinner aboard the USS Sea Cloud. Skinner, whose face Lawrence immortalized in this portrait, was familiar with Lawrence’s art career and helped him obtain a rank of petty officer third class in public relations so that he could record with his paintbrush the daily happenings at sea. Initially, Lawrence faced discrimination in the segregated Coast Guard, but later found relief on the Sea Cloud, which was the first integrated ship in the U.S. Navy.

Graphic Masters II: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2009