Paul Robeson(1898-1976), Singer
Sitter in 3 portraits
The son of a former slave, Robeson graduated at the top of his class from Rutgers University in New Jersey where he studied law. In 1919, he attended Columbia Law School, but turned to the performing arts due to the lack of opportunities for black legal professionals. Robeson's early stage success came with his title role in Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones in New York (1924) and London (1925). Between 1925 and 1942, he appeared in eleven feature films, including Show Boat (1936), Song of Freedom (1936) and The Proud Valley (1940). During the 1950s, Robeson's political activism forced him to leave the United States, and he lived in the UK from 1958 to 1963. Robeson gave song recitals world wide, returning to the US when he retired.
View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.
Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.