Archibald John Motley Jr. is born October 7, in New Orleans, LA, to Mary Huff Motley and Archibald John Motley Sr.
After brief residencies in New Orleans, LA; St. Louis, MO; and Buffalo, NY, the family settles in Chicago, IL, with homes at Sixty-First and Sixty-Fifth and Morgan, and Sixty-Second and Sangamon.
Sister Florence (“Flossie”) Motley born.
Moves with family to 350 West Sixtieth Street. Attends St. Brendan’s Roman Catholic Church.
Attends Englewood High School.
Nephew Willard Motley born to Flossie Motley and a “Mr. Bryant,” a boarder in their home. Willard is told that Mary and Archibald Sr. are his parents and Flossie and Archibald Jr. are his siblings. Although Willard is informed of his true parentage in 1921, the Motleys maintained their pre-1921 familial roles.
After declining a full scholarship to study architecture at Chicago’s Armour Institute, applies to and is accepted into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Frank Gunsaulus, president of the Armour Institute, pays the first year of tuition at the SAIC. Studies at the SAIC with Albert Krehbiel, John Norton, George Walcott, and Karl Buehr.
While attending the SAIC, develops friendships (and rivalries) with fellow art students, most notably Charles C. Dawson, William McKnight Farrow, William Schwartz, and Joseph Tomanek.
Pardoned from military services during WorldWar I because of a medically diagnosed “weak heart.”
Work prominently featured in the Arts and Letters Society exhibition Paintings by Negro Artists, Chicago, IL.
Publishes “The Negro in Art” in the Chicago Defender (July 6), arguing for each African American artist to “have the same broad field as our white competitors” and to be given “a chance to express himself in his own individual way.”
Occasionally joins his father, a Pullman porter, as a waiter on selected train routes.
Safeguarded by white friends during a major race riot on Chicago’s South Side. Takes a postgraduate class at the SAIC with painter George Bellows. Shares an artist’s model with former classmate Joseph Tomanek.
Included in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Twenty-Fifth Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity. Shows paintings in eleven subsequent Art Institute annual exhibitions until 1949.
Marries neighborhood friend Edith Granzo.
Awarded the Frank G. Logan Prize for A Mulattress and the Joseph N. Eisendrath Prize for Syncopation from the Art Institute of Chicago.
Paintings in the Twenty-Ninth Annual Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago are discussed at length in the French art journal Revue du vrai et du beau.
Acknowledged as “a credit to the race” in 1925 by W. E. B. Du Bois in the Crisis.
Mending Socks (1924) voted the most popular painting in the Newark Museum exhibition Paintings and Watercolors by Living American Artists, Newark, NJ. Flossie Motley’s second child, daughter Rita, dies of diphtheria.
Shows work in Exhibition of Paintings by Archibald J. Motley, Jr., New Gallery, New York, NY. Exhibition discussed at length in the New York Times and the New Yorker. Visits relatives in Pine Bluff, AR. Awarded the Harmon Foundation Gold Medal.
Awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for a year of study in Paris. Rents a room at the legendary Surrealist haunt Hôtel d’Istria at 29 rue Campagne Première, in Paris’s 14th arrondisement.
Later finds a studio/apartment at 16 rue Simon Dereure, in the 18th arrondissement. Wife and mother join him there.
Included in a major traveling European exhibition of American paintings, making stops at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, Stockholm, Sweden; the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Die Kunstverein, Munich, Germany.
Included in the auction Notable Paintings and Drawings Chiefly of the Modern Schools, Property of George S. Hellman, American Art Association, Anderson Galleries, New York, NY.
Prominently featured in J. Z. Jacobson’s Art of Today, Chicago, 1933 (Chicago: L. M. Stein, 1932).
Holds one-person exhibition at the Chicago Women’s Club, Chicago, IL. Son, Archibald J. Motley III, born. Included in the exhibition Contemporary Black Artists in America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
Included in Exhibition of Works by Negro Artists, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Included in the exhibition A Century of Progress, The Art Institute of Chicago.
Assigned to work for the easel division of the Public Works of Art Project. Appointed visiting instructor at Howard University, Washington, DC.
Completes mural for the Nichols School in Evanston, IL, for the Illinois Emergency Relief Commission. Father, Archibald John Motley Sr., dies.
Commissioned to paint a mural for the Wood River, IL, post office by the Treasury Department. Included in Exhibition of Fine Arts Productions by American Negroes, Hall of Negro Life, Texas Centennial, Dallas, TX.
Included in the exhibition Contemporary Negro Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD.
Participated in the dedication and opening of the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago. Included in Exhibition of the Art of the American Negro, 1851 to 1940, Tanner Art Galleries, American Negro Exposition, Chicago, IL.
Included in the exhibition Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Included in the exhibition American Negro Art, 19th and 20th Centuries, Downtown Gallery, New York, NY.
Moves wife and son into a newly purchased home at 3518 S. Wentworth Avenue, but as his wife’s health deteriorates, sells the house and moves the family back into his mother’s house at 350 W. Sixtieth Street.
Included in The Negro Artist Comes of Age, a National Survey of Contemporary American Artists, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY.
Nephew Willard Motley publishes his first novel, Knock on Any Door, which is made into a film starring Humphrey Bogart in 1949.
Wife Edith Granzo Motley dies. To support son and mother, begins working for Styletone, a manufacturer of hand-painted shower curtains.
Nephew Willard Motley’s second novel, We Fished All Night, is published.
Makes several trips to Guanajuato and Cuernavaca, Mexico, where his nephew Willard resides.
Sentenced to six months in Chicago’s Bridewell House of Correction for assault with a deadly weapon against his mother’s husband, Ernest Hill.
Shows work in Archibald John Motley, Jr., Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL.
Nephew Willard publishes his third novel, Let No Man Write My Epitaph, which is made into a film starring James Darren in 1960.
Mother, Mary Huff Motley Hill, dies.
Works intermittently on his last painting, The First One Hundred Years: He Amongst You Who Is Without Sin Shall Cast the First Stone; Forgive Them Father for They Know Not What They Do.
Nephew Willard Motley dies in Mexico City.
Included in The Evolution of Afro-American Artists: 1800–1950, City College of New York in cooperation with the Harlem Cultural Council and the New York Urban League City College, Albany, NY.
Included in Invisible Americans: Black Artists of the ’30s, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.
Included in Dimensions of Black, La Jolla Museum of Art, La Jolla, CA.
Profiled in the television documentary The Last Leaf: A Profile of Archibald Motley, on WMAQ-TV, Chicago, IL.
Honored by the National Conference of Artists, Chicago, IL.
Included in Two Centuries of Black American Art, making stops at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.
Because he is unable to maintain the South Side home he has lived in since 1907, moves into an apartment at 1809 N. Lincoln Park West.
Receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the SAIC. One of ten African American artists honoredby President Jimmy Carter at a White House reception.
Archibald John Motley Jr. dies, January 16, Chicago, IL.