to Vallen's Biography
Charles White 1959
Ink on Paper
Collection of Harry Belafonte
in the ghetto of Chicago in 1918, Charles White became one
of the greatest African American artists of his day. Vallen
was influenced by his powerful social realism and draftsmanship.
In 1947 White traveled to Mexico with his wife at the time
- Elizabeth Catlett - and both became members of the Taller
de Grafica (TGP: Popular Arts Workshop), where they learned
the art of lithography. White and Catlett had great affinity
for the Mexican artists, thinking them closer to social
realism than the painters back in the United States.
and Catlett befriended Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros,
and Pablo O' Higgins. Siqueiros offered the couple the top
floor of his home/studio while they stayed in Mexico.
influence upon Vallen's art is incalculable. The artist
had the following to say concerning that influence: "I
used to sit in on White's drawing classes at LA's Otis Art
Institute and visit the Heritage Gallery on LA's westside
where I could see his works on display. To me he was nothing
short of a master."