James Lesesne Wells (1902 - 1993)
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Born in Atlanta, Georgia, James Lesesne Wells was an African American educator, artist and photographer. Wells attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania for a year before transferring to Columbia University in New York, where he majored in art. Wells was greatly inspired by many artists including Albrecht Durer and German Expressionists — Ernst Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Otto Muller, and Emile Nolde. Wells showed great interest in the process of printmaking. In 1929, Wells became an instructor at Howard University and taught clay modeling, ceramics, sculpture, metal and block printing. After World War II, Wells spent time developing his skill in printmaking at the Atelier 17. Most of Wells’s paintings were often based on a biblical theme while his prints reflect on an African or African American experience.