October 7, 1917 – May 11, 2005

She was a Black painter best known for her semi-abstract, blues-inspired paintings of the 1940s.

Chapter 1: About Her


Rose Piper’s style shifted throughout her career, yet the root of her artwork stems from her abstract style.  She explores themes of African American identity and blacks’ lives in the inner–cities.  She once said, “For many of the disadvantaged today there is little or no belief in the promise of a better life.  For many, escape to ‘freedom’ or ‘paradise’ is drugs, short term riches, and violence.”  Through her paintings, Rose Piper depicts both the sadness and distress that African Americans faced as they moved North to the industrial cities; however, the content does not stop there.  Piper’s goal is to express the contradictory emotions that the migrating blacks experienced:  sadness from leaving their homes combined with hope for what the future might hold.  Her African American characters demonstrate courage, faith, and optimism that take a positive spin on situations of such struggle. Read More

ARTwork by Rose Piper

1st Row

  • Grieven Hearted by Rose Piper, c.1948
  • Go Down Neath, Easy An’ Bring My Servant Home by Rose Piper, c. 1988
  • Rose Piper, Unknown Source 
  • Slow Down Freight Train by Rose Piper, c. 1946
  • The Death of Bessie Smith by Rose Piper, c.1947

2nd Row

  • Rose Piper, Circa 1950
  • Self Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features by Rose Piper, c. 1981

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