"The Boston-born artist displayed creative promise at an early age and, with her parents’ encouragement, began her training at the High School of Practical Arts in 1919, advancing on to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1927. While the curriculum at the Museum School covered life, freehand, and perspective drawing courses, she gravitated towards design as a major. She enrolled in graduate studies at Boston’s Design Art School, eventually becoming a freelance textile designer. Jones realized, however, that textile design had its limitations: “As I wanted my name to go down in history, I realized that I would have to be a painter. And so it was that I turned immediately to painting.”
Armed with new resolve, Jones applied to her alma mater, the School at the Museum of the Fine Arts, for a teaching position. Her request was denied, the rejection tendered with the director’s suggestion that she “go South to help your people.” Initially, Jones balked at the notion, but after attending a lecture delivered by pioneering educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown at a local community center, she began to reconsider. Jones convinced Brown of the necessity of art instruction at Palmer Memorial Institute, a preparatory school for African American youth in Sedalia, North Carolina. Jones’s two-year residency, 1928 to 1930, in the rural community was her first encounter with the segregation and racism particular to the American South. She established a thriving art department at Palmer, which soon attracted the attention of another artist-educator, James Herring, who recruited her to Howard University. Jones would remain at Howard for forty-seven years, teaching exceptional students such as Alma Thomas, Elizabeth Catlett, and David Driskell.
In 1968, an article in Ebony magazine remarked on Jones’s creative curiosity, reporting that “she has devoted her life to a quiet exploration—a quest for new meanings in color, texture and design.” —https://thejohnsoncollection.org/lois-mailou-jones/
Jones originally produced this image in 1936 for reproduction in a text book. It appears that she worked over an enlarged reproduction of that image with ink and marker and consigned it to Sun Gallery. The writing on the label appears to be in the artist's writing (but from the 1970s), describing the work as simply brush and ink.—https://treadwaygallery.com/lot/lois-mailou-jones-heritage-mural-study-3973629