de Young & Legion of Honor ART on Demand

Aaron Douglas

Aspiration, 1936

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About the Artwork

Aaron Douglas, Aspiration, 1936
Oil on canvas, 92 x 42 x 3 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum Purchase, Gift of Mrs. Paul Wattis, 1999.42
© Heirs of Aaron Douglas

Aspiration, created for the Texas Centennial of 1936, conveys the artist’s perception of a link between African/Egyptian and African American cultures—rejecting European claims to Egypt’s historical legacy. Aaron Douglas’s painting depicts multiple progressions—from slavery to freedom, and from the agrarian or sharecropper labor of the South to the industrial labor of the North—along with the triumph of freedom over racism and subjugation. The shackled arms rising from wave-like curves evoke the transatlantic passage of slave ships. The five-pointed stars symbolize Texas—the Lone Star State—but also recall the North Star that guided fugitives from slavery to freedom before the Civil War. The seated figure of Egypt holding a book and the silhouettes of pyramids represent the cultural contributions of ancient African/Egyptian civilization. The two twentieth-century African American men hold attributes of education and gaze upward to a city whose futuristic skyscrapers symbolize human aspiration.

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About Our Prints


de Young & Legion of Honor ART on Demand offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections and exhibitions of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.


Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. We are continually adding new artworks to our offering, so be sure to check back regularly as you build your own gallery. A variety of molding styles means our custom framed prints can match any type of decor.

Ordering & Return Policy

All ART on Demand items are custom-made for each order. Please allow 10-14 days for production time. You will receive shipping confimation and tracking upon shipment. Due to the custom nature of these items they are non-returnable.