Archibald Motely, Jr. attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1914-1918. His work finally recieved recognition when one of his pieces was displayed by the Art Institute in 1920.
In 1928 he held a one man art show at the New York Gallery and in 1929, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship which allowed him to study in Paris for a year.
Motley's piece, Blues, was influenced by an area in Chicago known as Bronzeville. This black community was rich with nightclubs, dancers, and hornplayers.
During the Depression Motley found employment through government sponsored programs. He did not want to be typed as a black artist, however Motley's work reveals an indebtedness to black culture.