Signature: incised in the image l.r.: Jacob Lawrence 53
Inscriptions and Marks: on removable backing board, l.l., written sideways with a blue colored pencil “#15”; u.c., with a blue colored pencil surrounded by an oval “112”; on liner, l.l., written sideways with a blue colored pencil “#15”; on tape covering upper member of the inner frame; u.r., written with a red colored pencil “44”
Eight abstracted figures (three kneeling in front and five standing in back) wearing orange tank tops and white shorts face the viewer; two basketballs and five trophies between figures in the foreground. Figures stand in front of a background of fragmented, arched and circular areas of color in blues and golds.
Jacob Lawrence drew upon his surroundings in Harlem, NY for influence and inspiration. His work often contains people in the African American community and their struggles, dreams and triumphs. “Champions” depicts a portrait of an African American basketball team resplendent with their five trophies. The schematic designs, flat space, angular figures, and fragmented, highly patterned surfaces of this piece are typical of his style.