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Published on Sep 12, 2013
John Thomas Biggers (April 13, 1924 - January 25, 2001) was an African-American artist born in Gastonia, North Carolina. Early on, Biggers attended the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) and Pennsylvania State University where he earned a doctorate. Biggers studied under, and was influenced by, the Viennese Austrian Expressionist, emigre and art theorist, Viktor Lowenfeld who encouraged him to pursue social themes from his African-American roots and experience. In 1949, Biggers founded the art department at the historically black, Texas Southern University where his murals adorn many campus walls. In 1957, he was awarded a UNESCO fellowship becoming one of the first African American artists to visit Africa. Large themes of the human condition and African-American experience figure prominently in Bigger's art and visionary murals. Biggers passed away in Houston in early 2001 but his legacy remains in the many future generations of students which he taught and trained.