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The Fashion Network

Lemaire organizes an exhibition in honor of African-American artist Joseph E. Yoakum

March 2, 2022

Yoakum, Lemaire

Yoakum's drawings on Lemaire's SS22 collection. Photo: The Fashion Network. 

By Chenu Alexis

The duo at the head of the Lemaire fashion house, Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran, are organizing an exhibition entitled "INSCAPE: In the Depths of Joseph E. Yoakum's Landscapes” from March 3 to 13.

This exhibition to be held at the Galerie Derouillon in Paris (38 rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, IIIème) introduces the painter and drawer to France, presenting his work in the country for the first time. 

Born at the end of the 19th century to a father of Cherokee descent and an African-American and French mother who was a former slave, the artist joined the circus before traveling the world and finally settling down in Chicago. He was admitted to a psychiatric ward for some time due to a bout of dementia then began his career as a cartoonist in the early 1950s. John Hogbood, an anthropology professor in Chicago, noticed him and introduced him to the general public in 1967 through an exhibition he organized dedicated to the artist’s work. 


Known for his illustrations drawn from memory of both real and imaginary landscapes sketched with a ballpoint pen and colored in with pencil or watercolor, Yoakum produced more than 2,000 works during his lifetime. 

Lemaire and Tran were inspired by the artist enough to not only exhibit his work but to also incorporate his drawings and patterns into a series of silk pieces for its Spring/Summer 2022 collection. The lineup is comprised of a rectangular dress that displays Yoakum’s landscapes, a T-shirt dress, a men’s shirt, a scarf, a bag, and a blanket-skirt paying homage to the artist’s illustrations.

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