Art in Washington and Its Afro-American Presence: 1940-1970
To My Mother
BEATRICE LOUISE MORRISON
for her support while I wrote this manuscript.
THIS EXHIBITION AND CATALOGUE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF THE WASHINGTON POST COMPANY THE WASHINGTON PROJECT FOR THE ARTS AND THE AUTHOR WOULD TO GIVE SPECIAL THANKS TO THE WASHINGTON POST FOR THEIR CONTINUING AND SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WASHINGTON ARTS COMMUNITY
The history of the Washington art community has always been an elusive one. Its diverse and often contradictory nature makes definitive analysis a most difficult task. Washington’s innately transient population and the over— bearing presence of the Federal City have only compounded the problem.
It remains however, that seminal influences in the arts have been born and nurtured in Washington. Well-known among these is the Washington Color School. Less well-known, though more historically complex and intriguing, are the contributions made by black artists and institutions.
It is a great honor and pleasure for the Washington Project for the Arts to undertake an exhibition and catalogue that celebrates the achievements of these artists and educators. While it may seem outside the aegis of a contemporary artists’ organization such as the W.P.A., we regard the realization of this project as a pivotal addition to the collective understanding of our roots both as artists and as public residing in Washington.
It is extremely fitting that it is an artist, Keith Morrison, who, with diligence, commitment, and hard work has brought to light and memorialized those artists and educators who furthered the Modernist spirit in Washington during the years 1940-1970.
JOCK REYNOLDS, Executive Director, Washington Project for the Arts
Many people have given kind assistance to me in the short time that I have had to prepare this work. For their generous assistance I would like to thank Lila Oliver Asher, Leon Berkowitz, Milton and Nesta Bernard, Adelyn Breeskin, Helen Brunner, Lillian Burwell, Gene Davis, Willem deLooper, Alice Denney, JeffDonaldson, David C.Driskell, Adolphus Ealey, Sam Gilliam, Jr.,Carroll Greene, Jr., Mark Gulezian, Walter Hopps, Debbie Hysan, Lois Jones, Jacob and Ruth Kainen, Winston Kennedy, John Kinard, Phyllis Klein, Alden Lawson, Jane Livingston, Alexandra MacBain, Julia Mamani, James Mayo, Delilah Pierce, Jock Reynolds, Frank Smith, Lou Stovall, Therlowe Tibbs, and Herb White.
Many individuals and institutions have generously consented to lend works to the exhibition “Art in Washington and Its Afro-American Presence: 1940 to 1970.” Unfortunately, not all of these loans were made at the time of this printing and so, regretfully, a number of names are not acknowledged below. However, the author and the Washington Project for the Arts give heartfelt thanks to the following for their contributions to the exhibition: The Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, Lila Oliver Asher, the Barnett-Aden Gallery, Gene Davis, David C. Driskell, The Corcoran Gallery ofArt, Howard University Gallery ofArt, Jacob and Ruth Kainen, The Phillips Collection, Delilah Pierce, Warren Robbins, Frank Smith, and Lou Stovall.
l give special thanks to Sandra Fitzpatrick for the generous sharing of her pioneering documentation of the careers of many black artists in Washington. It was an indispensable asset to my preparation of this book.
I also give a special thanks to Kurt Wiener for the advice and first- hand information that he has so kindly given to me from the inception to the completion of this work.
CHAPTER I: EMERGENCE
“But perhaps only a malignant end can follow the systematic belief that all communities are one community; that all truth is one truth, that all experience is compatible with all other, that total knowledge is possible; that all that is potential can exist as actual.”
- J. Robert Oppenheimer
It is common belief that art should transcend racial, social and political problems. In fact, it has not always done so. At different times, people in the arts have had to find innovative ways to thrive in spite of such problems. This exhibition and essay deal with such an era of non—transcendence and with the manner in which artists confronted their environment and survived within it. They were compelled to realize that the idea of the “universal” in art—not black or white—had not yet found community acceptance. They had to await the time when their art was accepted on its own terms regardless of the race of the artist.
The institutions were mostly black—owned and controlled, although not entirely so by any means. Most of the critical thinkers and artists were blacks. They were supported, however, by a significant number of some of the most important white artists and art thinkers. Thus, a racial situation created a phenomenon in Washington—the recognition of the evil of racism and a subsequent struggle to find means to surmount it. In many ways—often unpredictably, sometimes contradictorily, sometimes systematically—these people succeeded.
It is assumed that modernism began in Washington’s art with the opening of the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts in 1947. This is correct, except for one thematic concept that had existed for at least 15 years. This was the exploration of a wider world view of art developed from cross— cultural experiences. It was an idea that emanated from Howard University, expanded through the Barnett-Aden Gallery and was to affect a number of Washington art institutions and personalities for over 40 years. In the beginning the Howard University Gallery and the Barnett-Aden Gallery showed most of the major artists in Washington and brought significant national and international art to the city. This basic idea emerged from the philosophy ofAlain Locke, the art historical scholarship ofJames Porter, the gallery direction of Department chairman lames Herring, the curatorial work of Alonzo Aden and the work of a number of artists that included Alma Thomas and Sam Gilliam and extended to the redirection of the Howard Art Department under the new chairman left Donaldson in 1970.
On a national scale, this achievement of Afro-Americans in Washington’s art was not prominent; in fact, it has gone almost unnoticed even in this city. However, in an intellectual sense it has emerged as a significant prototype of how recent American art evolved. Today such an approach to art exists in institutions that we call “alternative spaces.” In the days of the early Howard University Art Gallery and the Barnett—Aden Gallery there was no name for this approach. These institutions simply recognized that as the first black galleries in the country they were by definition already on the outside; consequently, they sought to provide justification for all that was on the outside, by forging alliances with established art. What they actually did was more than incorporate the non- established with the established. They succeeded in providing an example of how the scope of modernism could be broadened.
Alain Locke, the towering scholar of philosophy, aesthetics and Afro-American art and art history, was the chairman of Howard University’s Philosophy Department. James Porter was, in many ways, his adversary. The second chairman of Howard’s Art Department, Porter was to write a brilliant book on Afro-American art. James Herring, ever the pragmatist, was the founder of the Howard Art Department and Art Gallery, which he directed. He was also co—founder with Alonzo Aden of the Barnett-Aden Gallery in Washington. Aden had previously been curator of the Howard ArtGallery collection. These innovative personalities were most effective through the 19505. Thereafter, a number of artists—including Lois Jones, Sam Gilliam and Alma Thomas—rose to prominence. In 1970 when JeffDonaldson became chairman, the Howard Art Department took a radical turn and in effect recaptured the spirit of much of the philosophy ofLocke. This essay, then, covers the ideas, influences and directions that evolved from 1940 (the tenth anniversary of the Howard Art Gallery) to 1970, the period of redefinition of the Howard University Art Department.
It cannot be said that the cross-cultural modernism that developed from this environment over a considerable time span was pre—planned or even recognized or promoted for many years. This focus evolved from the modest beginning of first establishing a place for Afro-American artists to show and grew into a gallery open to all artists. Through that process a new idea emerged that set in motion new issues in what was then contemporary art.
This essay will look at how Afro-American art unfolded inWashington, its relationship to the general art community, and the events, issues and personalities that led from the established tenth anniversary success in 1940 to its restructuring in 1970. During that period just about every important artist in Washington and many national and international artists as well were affected by the events generated by Afro-American institutions in the city.
In 1940, six years before the founding of the Washington Workshop Center, Howard University held its “Tenth Anniversary Exhibition.” It was a major art event in the city. Curated byAlonzo Aden, it included what had become the characteristic mixture of local and national artists which had been the general thrust of the gallery since its opening in 1930. Among the artists of national merit in the show were Louis Eilshemius, Nicolai Cikovsky, Edward Rosenfeld, Richmond Barthé, Sargent Johnson, Aaron Douglass and Nancy Prophet. Local exhibitors included Herman Maril, Marjorie Phillips, Lois Jones and James Wells. Although many of these are no longer household names, most of them were nationally known at the time.
There are no specific attendance documents available, but from all accounts this must have been a grand opening. James Herring had by this time developed a tradition of grand Sunday afternoon receptions for the opening of the Howard Gallery exhibitions. It is almost certain that Howard president Mordecai Johnson would have been there, as well as many distinguished faculty, black and white, including Alain Locke, James Westley, and William Hansberry of the History Department, and Dean Nelson of the School of Religion. They would all be well-dressed in three-piece afternoon suits. The faculty—including Lois Jones, James Wells and Porter—would have been there, as well as curator Aden and all the art students and many other students from across the campus. They, too, would have been very well- dressed and would have been served punch and tea and hors d’oeuvres on fine china, placed on antique furniture covered with white lace tablecloths. The off-campus guests would have been just as numerous and just as well- dressed. Laura Carson and Dr. Cecil Marques might have been there, as might have Duncan Phillips, Charles Seymour Jr., Kurt Wiener, other museum dignitaries, important politicians, even Eleanor Roosevelt would sometimes come. All of the Washington artists in the show would have been there including Maril and Marjorie Phillips. Journalists from the City’s newspapers would have been there too. Herring would have been dapper with his diamond stick pin and diamond cuff links, and he would have beamed effusively as he usually did on such occasions.
Herring had written the following in the catalog: “Our policy has been to leave discovery of racial and national artists to our Chauvinistic friends. We have preferred to exhibit the works of all schools and trends regardless of ideology or any designated sphere.”
Herring’s taste was eclectic. There was not much philosophic commonality among the artists of the Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, as was typical of many ofHerring’s shows before and after. His instincts led toward diversity because he worked with the knowledge that much more national contemporary art needed to be seen in Washington, for the good of the students at Howard and the city as a whole. Herring maintained this pragmatic approach to showing art all of his life, whether working together with Alonzo Aden at Howard between 1930 and 1943 or at the Barnett-Aden Gallery from 1943 onward. Often the Howard Gallery and the Barnett—Aden shared resources. Because Herring was director of both, many of the same artists showed in both galleries. Over the years the galleries would show works byMatisse, Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso, German Expressionists and American artists such as Max Weber, Thomas Hart Benton and Charles White. Wifredo Lam, the painter, and Teodoro Ramos—Blanco, the sculptor, both from Cuba, showed at the Howard Art Gallery, as did Brazil’s great Candido Portinari.
The gallery showed African tribal art, too, including works from Alain Locke’s collection. It showed many local artists at Howard, beginning in the 1930s. Among the Washington artists who showed there later in the forties and early fifties were Richard Dempsey, Jacob Kainen, Jack Perlmutter, Lois Jones, James Wells, Pietro Lazzari and Morris Louis. Many ofthese artists showed at Barnett—Aden, too. Irene Rice Pereira had her first Washington show there and several subsequent ones. Leon Berkowitz also showed there in the early fifties as did Gene Davis, Ben Summerford, Robert Gates, Kenneth Noland, and Clara Fontanini. Theodoros Stamos showed at both Barnett-Aden and the Howard Gallery. In later years, Tom Downing would show at both places, as would Kenneth Noland and Howard Mehring (who, like Morris Louis before him, also taught at Howard in the Art Department). The great Afro-American artists across the country showed in both galleries. Jacob Lawrence showed there in the forties, as did Richmond Barthé and Sargent Johnson, Ernest Crichlow, Eldzier Cortor, Hughie Lee-Smith, Hale Woodruff, Elizabeth Catlett, Selma Burke and a host of others.
Romare Bearden, who visited Howard, said that he had never seen a Matisse in Washington before seeing one at the Barnett—Aden Gallery. Therese Schwartz, in a moving essay, stated that the Barnett—Aden was the most important art gallery in America south of New York.
Indeed, Herring pulled out all the stops. Many of his catalogs for Howard included forewords written by such notables as Duncan Phillips and Charles Seymour of the National Gallery. Considering that Howard ran an exhibition schedule of six to ten shows a year from 1930 through the fifties and that the Barnett-Aden ran a similar one from 1943 through the fifties, the importance of both of these exhibition programs to the city is evident.
Certainly they influenced at least two of the major galleries in the city by 1940, and several museums around the country. In 1939 the Whyte Gallery, inspired by Herring and the Howard Art Gallery, held an exhibition of contemporary Afro-American art. At that time the Whyte Gallery, which was an offshoot of the Bignou Gallery in New York, specialized in French art. Also in that year, Adelyn Breeskin, curator and later director ofthe Baltimore Museum of Art, was to arrange one of the first Afro-American exhibitions at a major American museum. Herring and Locke had heard that Breeskin was open-minded and had given her name to the custodians of the Harmon Foundation who then contacted Breeskin. The exhibition was so very well received that Breeskin was soon to do another. In 1944, the G. Place Gallery, inspired by the Baltimore Museum show and by the work at Howard, organized an important exhibition in Washington called “New Names in American Art.” The show, though favorably reviewed in Washington, got an unimpressive review in The New York Times which questioned the idea of an all Afro-American show under such a title. The directors of the G. Place Gallery, Caresse Crosby and David Porter, had done considerable research with help from Herring and Locke in preparing the show, which included works by Charles Sebree, Palmer Hayden, Eldzier Cortor, Charles White and Sargent Johnson. Alain Locke wrote the catalog essay. The daring Adelyn Breeskin was to take this show to the Baltimore Museum also. The museum’s catalog included Locke’s essay. The show was favorably reviewed and was also a popular success.
These regional activities reflected a national presence. The work of Locke and Alonzo Aden in the 1940 Chicago Negro Exposition, the work of Aden in curating exhibitions in Philadelphia, the work ofLocke again in writing important catalog essays (such as “The Negro Comes ofAge”) for the Albany Institute in 1945 and the work that was ongoing at Howard and Barnett-Adenall show that Afro-Americans were playing a very important and highly visible role in Washington during that period.
It is important to remember that Washington was a clearly segregated city in the forties. This reality resulted in the constant omission of black artists and their work from the city’s earliest contemporary art life. The art community’s heavy patronizing ofHoward and Barnett—Aden ran counter to the prevailing sentiment of the times. Leon Berkowitz remembers the Washington Workshop: “It was integrated. We did not deny anyone admission, but that was against the law.” Lois Jones and Delilah Pierce were among the black artists who visited there and others such as Bill Taylor studied there.
Modernism, as we have come to know it, has to do with making the means of art one with the expression of art. It is about art creating its own language. This is distinct from the more traditional notion of art as imitation of something beside itself. For modern art to exist in a form consistent with its expression, it was necessary to neutralize its social aspects since art no longer imitated life. It existed outside of social custom and the limitations of racial values. The basic contribution of the Washington Afro-American institutions was their recognition that expressive possibilities of art remained incomplete unless a diversity of cultural ideas could coexist in artistic parity. As we shall see, the black artists and thinkers did not always follow this principle and sometimes proved to be racist and contradictory. But as often as they failed, they never evaded this pivotal issue. An essential issue between whites and blacks in American art is that while the former have stated that race plays no role in art, the latter have claimed that it does. In fairness, many white artists in Washington knew this. When they had the opportunity they exhibited with the blacks. At other times they helped and supported their artistic ideas. The free association and generous work without regard to race by many white artists (such as Jacob Kainen, Herman Maril, Bernice Cross, Leo Stepat, Jack Perlmutter, Morris Louis and Gene Davis) are evidence of this support. However, it was the black institutions (with Herring, Aden, Locke and Porter) that provided the catalyst for a wider association and cross-cultural freedom in the visual arts in Washington. It was they who paved the way for the G. Place Gallery, for the Whyte Gallery and the Baltimore Museum and Adelyn Breeskin. There is no reason to believe that Afro-Americans were more humanitarian than their Caucasian colleagues. Their efforts were simply the inevitable reactions of strong people to the conditions in which they found themselves at that particular time in history.
However, as is often the case in human endeavor, the ideas are more romantic than the cast of characters. Herring, Locke, Porter and Aden did not work as a team and neither did many others who followed them. They often sabotaged one another and worked in conflict. As we shall see, their contributions to modernism did not follow a clear direction and were not always positive. However, even at their most negative, their views were significant to art. The irony that negative tendencies are just as viable as positive ones is, after all, an ultimate reality of modernist thinking. But let it be clear that many of their contributions were positive and at such times their work was of substantial influence.
- The Corcoran Gallery, which had operated since the nineteenth century still catered to traditions; American University’s Art Department, founded in 1942, was still emerging as was the National Gallery of Art, which had opened in 194. The few commercial galleries in the city did not consistently show contemporary art. The Phillips Collection, with its pioneering patron Duncan Phillips, was the most important influence in modernism in Washington during that time. The Phillips opened in 1921.
- The ideas set forth by the founding of the Howard Art Department in 1925 and the Howard Art Gallery in 1930 are explored in this essay up until the redefinition of the Howard An Department in 1970.
- Alain Leroy Locke, 1896-1954. He was the first black Rhodes scholar and a brilliant thinker and writer of aesthetics, philosophy and art history.
- James Amos Porter, 1905-1970. A distinguished artist, Porter also wrote a major book on Afro- American art as well as many articles on the subject.
- James Vernon Herring, 1897-1969. Founder of the Howard Art Department and Gallery. Herring later was co-founder (with Alonzo Aden) of the Barnett-Aden Gallery. Herring was born in Clio, South Carolina. He entered Howard Academy in 1908. Through the interest of an English teacher he became acquainted with art in the Corcoran Gallery. With the help of the English teacher, Mrs. Anne R. Baker, and Chancellor Day of Syracuse, New York, he was awarded a scholarship to the School of Fine Arts at Syracuse University. While at Syracuse he became an officer of the Thumb Box Society where extensive work was done with the restoration of paintings. In 1914, he received scholarships to study art and art history in Canada and London. During the summer of 1915, while still a student at Syracuse, he began to teach in the Art Department of Wilberforce University, Ohio. He also began to show his own paintings. He graduated from Syracuse in 1917 with a B.Ped. in Art. He was appointed by the Methodist Board of Cincinnati to teach art and art history atHaven Academy in Meridian, Mississippi. In 1918, he traveled throughout the Midwest and the South and returned to New York in 1918. He was invited to teach at Straight College, New Orleans, in 1918, where he remained for two years. In 1920, he went to teach at Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina, where he taught art and art appreciation.
- AlonzoAden, 1906-1961. The first curator of the Howard Art Gallery and later curator of the Barnett-Aden Gallery, Aden was born in Charleston.
- TheGallery opened on the ground floor of Rankin Chapel. By 1940 it was moved to the Founders Library where it would remain for many years.
- Herring used “national” in the sense that the word “ethnic” is used today. His statement was a not-too—subtle reference to the philosophy of Alain Locke who might also have been at the opening reception.
- The chronology can get complicated. Aden became curator with the opening of the Howard Gallery in 1930. He served under Herring’s directorship until he resigned in 1943. Herring and Aden established the Barnett—Aden Gallery in their home at 27 Randolph Place, N.W., also in 1943. The Gallery continued until Herring’s death in 1969, although Aden died in 1961. Herring remained at Howard as director of the Gallery and chairman of the Department after Aden’s resignation. Thus Herring directed two galleries simultaneously from 1943 until his death in 1969.
- This was no doubt a Matisse print. Herring and Aden were not likely to have been able to afford a Matisse painting in the 1940s. What is known is that Herring obtained prints from the Ferdinand Roten Gallery in Baltimore.
- ThereseSchwartz: “Demystifying Pereira, “Art in America, October,1979.
- Herring developed a professional relationship with Duncan Phillips. They were known to consult each other sometimes about art and Herring would on occasion accompany Phillips on art purchasing trips to New York. The purchases of Phillips, of course, would be far more extensive than those of Herring. It was perhaps with Herring’s advice that Phillips bought half of the Jacob Lawrence “Migration Series” in the 1930s The other half was bought by the Museum of Modern Art. In the early forties Phillips acquired a number of works by Horace Pippin for his collection as well.
- “Founded by James Whyte at 1747 Eye Street, NW, in 1939, this was a bookstore and Art Gallery. Franz Bader, a young Austrian emigre, worked there from the beginning and became its director in 1948. This was later to become the Franz Bader Gallery.
- The Harmon Foundation was established by William E. Harmon as a student loan foundatior for youths attending college. In cooperation with the commission on church relations of the Federal Council of Churches, the Harman Foundation established awards for distinguished achievement by Afro-Americans in literature, music, the visual arts, science, industry, education, religion and race relations. The objective of the art awards was to encourage black artists and to develop Afro-American art. Between 1928 and 1934, the Harmon Foundation shared the work of over 125 artists in exhibitions that travelled to 27 states and some 50 cities where they were said to have been seen by over 3,500 people. The Harmon Foundation has been the largest contributor to the encouragement of black artists. There has been no other organization that has so demonstrated its depth of commitment to the cause of blacks in the visual arts. lts publications remain the dominant source of information about many artists. Without the Harmon Foundation it is not likely that the young Alain Locke would have had the network to gain the kind of audience that he did.
The exhibition of “Contemporary Negro Art” held at the Baltimore Museum of Art ran from February 3 to February 19, 1939. It consisted of works from the Harmon Foundation collection and of works left by artists on consignment with the Foundation’s custodian, Mary Beatty Brady, through whom Breeskin and the Baltimore Museum arranged the show. The exhibition contained a commissioned sixty panels on the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture byJacob Lawrence and works by Archibald Motley, Charles Alston, Henry Banner, Richmond Barthé, Samuel Brown, Aaron Douglass, Rex Goreleigh, Palmer Hayden, William Hayden, Malvin Gray Johnson, Sargent Johnson, Lois Jones, Norman Lewis, Ronald Moody, Robert Neal, Frederick Perry and Florence Purviance. However, this was not the first Afro-American art exhibition in a major museum in the area. From October 31 to November 6, 1933, the National Museum (of the Smithsonian), held an exhibition ofNegro Life and History. The show included works by Edwin Harleston, Palmer Hayden, William H.Johnson, Motley Porter, William Scott, Laura Wheeler Waring, Hale Woodruff, James Wells, Lois Jones and Leslie Bolling. It was reviewed on November 4, 1933, in the Washington Daily News.
- The G. Place Gallery was founded by Caresse Crosby and David Porter at 916 G Place, NW, in 1943. “New Names in American Art,” according to the catalog, “was to present the recent contribution negro artists have made to painting and sculpture.” Among the more than 30 artists in the show were Charles Sebree, Allan Crite, Charles White, John Wilson, Edward Loper, Jacob Lawrence, Sargent Johnson, Fred Hollingsworth, Lois Jones, Beauford Delaney, Ernest Crichlow, Eldzier Cortor, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Selma Burke, Ellis Wilson, Horace Pippin, William H. Johnson, Hale Woodruff and James Porter. The show was well reviewed by Florence Berryman in the Washington Star. Berryman noted the work “Mob Victim” by Lois Jones and the sculpture “Hippo” by Sargent Johnson, among others. The show ran from June 13 to July 14, 1944.
- Reviewed in the Baltimore Sun, May 21, 1944, byAD. Emmart.
- See Pittsburgh Courier reviews of Alonzo Aden’s work on the Chicago Negro Exposition and Aden’s reception in Pittsburgh, February 15, 1941. Also, “Three Artists of Philadelphia” at Howard University was curated byAden. The show included works by Sam Brown, Laura Wheeler Waring and Allan Freelon and was held in the Howard Gallery in 1940. These are but two examples of Aden’s activity to influence art outside of the city and to bring ideas here early in the forties.
- “The Negro Artist Comes of Age” was a national survey of contemporary Afro-American art held at the Albany Institute of History and Art, January 3 to February 11, 1945. It was curated by Hale Woodruff of Atlanta University, with a catalog essay of the same name by Alain Locke. The show included Charles Alston, William Artis, Romare Bearden, Henry Bannaran, William Carter, Elizabeth Catlett, Ernest Crichlow, Eldzier Cortor, Fred Flemister, Rex Goreleigh, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Edward Loper, Charles Sebree, Charles White, Ellis Wilson, James Wells and Horace Pippin.
- Many Washington department stores did not encourage black customers until well after 1954.
CHAPTER II: IDEAS AND CONFLICTS
Afro-Americans contributed substantially to the development of modern art in Washington. They facilitated exposure of national and international art in the community, but that was not their only intention nor their only purpose. Because the various individuals had differing goals, their achievements covered many aspects of modernism that sometimes contradicted one another. These men were strong-willed individuals with large egos. For example, it is doubtful that Herring, Locke and Porter ever “caucused” or sought to compromise their individual wills or views to fraternal brotherhood. They knew their blackness and its racial stigma were a commonality, but it did not make them like one another or inspire them to work together. The programs that they developed and passed on to their successors reflect this discord.
Further, there were two thrusts to Afro-American involvement. One was the result of art made by the Afro-American artists who lived in the city (to be dealt with in the next chapter). The other concerned the development of ideas, through the writing of art history and aesthetics and the development of educational and exhibition programs, especially at Howard University and the Barnett—Aden Gallery. This is the focus of the present chapter.
The Howard Art Department developed largely because of the personality of James Herring and not from a preconception of the administrators at Howard University. The syncretic philosophy of James Porter resulted more from his vision than from a consensus in the Department of Art. The ideas of Alain Locke dominated the Philosophy Department. Years later Jeff Donaldson would reform the Howard Art Department counter to Porter’s conception and come closer to Locke’s views on race and art. Sam Gilliam would develop a series of ideas that bore the stamp of his personality without allegiance to any Afro-American tradition in the city; Alma Thomas developed a singular vision as a painter beyond her experiences with other black artists or with her mentor James Herring.
The earliest and most intellectually formidable of these personalities was Alain Locke. Alain Locke was the first black Rhodes scholar. He came to teach at Howard in 1912 after studying at Oxford and in Berlin. He was professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1912 until his death in 1954. Locke’s celebrated essay, “The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts,” published in 1926, was to symbolize his advocacy for African-American directions in art. It was the most widely read Afro-American art document by artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance and by black aesthetic thinkers across America at that time. Locke’s fame came about as follows: in March, 1925, Survey Graphics magazine devoted an entire issue to the cultural and social progress of blacks and the ideas of the Harlem Renaissance. It was entitled “Harlem, Mecca of the New Negro.” The original run of 30,000 copies quickly sold out. By the end of that year Locke himself published an expanded version of the issue. This version was called TheNew Negro and it soon became essentially a manifesto of the Harlem Renaissance. It included Locke’s article, “The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts,” and with it Locke became the best known and most vocal advocate of African—American art anywhere. In 1941 Locke published The Negro in Art, which is considered the earliest important guide to African—American arts. The book contained important biographies and reproductions of work by some 98 artists from the period of slavery to1940. Most of the artists had never been seen before. Locke organized many important art exhibitions including the “Art of the American Negro” for the 1940 American Negro Exposition in Chicago.
Locke also lectured widely across the country and in several foreign countries. He was exchange professor to Haiti in 1943 and a visiting professor to several universities, including Fisk, Atlanta University, Columbia, Princeton and Wisconsin. Locke wrote numerous other essays on art, including many for exhibition catalogs. He traveled widely in Europe and Africa where he developed pioneering research on the complexities of African tribal art. During his lifetime he acquired an important African art collection, most of which was donated to Howard University upon his death. In addition to his work on art, Locke wrote extensively on philosophy and music. He received many awards and was the first black to be elected President of the National Council on Adult Education.
In Locke’s essay “The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts” (1926) he argued for an Afro-American art developed upon the foundation of the formal structures of African art. He saw this as a worthy parallel to development in black music and literature. This African formalism, then, was the thematic character ofLocke’s aesthetic advocacy. It was a theme that would run through all of his writings and lectures on art. Locke’s position was that as long as one group of people made art based upon the cultural assumptions of another they would only be second best. He felt that the best Post—lmpressionist art by Afro-Americans could be at most a mere footnote in the interpretation of European art because the idea itself was defined by European culture. Thus, Locke’s argument was based on the assumption that originality was more important than adherence to established concepts.
It was pointed out to Locke that Cubism, Fauvism and Expressionism all European ideas that were derived from non-Western sources and were therefore examples of art that neutralized his arguments. Locke countered, that as fine as those were, they were nevertheless European interpretations of other people’s worlds through a European vision of its own history. He suggested that Cubism is about painting the picture on the wall, which is a European phenomenon after all. Cubist sculpture is still within the tradition of the impassive museum statue and Expressionism is a reaction to European sobriety.
Locke argued for developing new and yet unseen approaches to art (which he assumed would logically occur) by studying not only the form but also the basis of non—Western art. Arguably, artists like Catlett, Bearden, William M. Johnson, Aaron Douglass, Richmond Barthé, Sargent Johnson, Nancy Prophet and Marion Perkins (all of whom were influenced by Locke’s thinking in different ways) realized some of his ideas. Some ofLocke’s ideas imply racial bias. However, there is an abundance of evidence—from his many white friends and from the many white scholars and artists that he generously helped throughout his life—that Alain Locke was no racist. His ideas, however, remained controversial. The age-old argument that race should play no part in art was always to plague Locke’s work. His relationship with the Art Department was somewhat detached, partly because his eminence tended to dwarf the achievements of most people there and partly because Herring and Porter disagreed with his philosophy.
Still, Locke profoundly influenced the Art Department. Lois Jones claims that, challenged by Locke’s ideologies, her work changed from a Post-Impressionist direction to a new Afro-American consciousness. Subsequent exhibitions of African Art held at Howard in the fifties and sixties reflected the philosophic encouragement of Alain Locke, who directed African and Afro-American contemporary thinking toward its own indigenous possibilities. Certainly, too, the emergence of Afri-Cobra in Washington many years later (in 1970) was in direct conformance with the ideas of Locke. Thus, Afri-Cobra established itself and found a much older Lois Jones exploring compatible ideas that had been inspired by Locke and, as a legacy from him, a vast collection of African Art, other contemporary Afro-American Art and a body of art writing.
James Herring came to teach at Howard in 1921, nine years after Locke had arrived. “The Professor,” as Herring was affectionately called, never acquired anything near the national stature of Locke. Neither was he a significant intellectual. Herring was a doer. He was a teacher who exposed a large and distinguished roster of students to the best art around. For over thirty years he exposed the city of Washington to contemporary art from all over the country. Herring had attended Howard before studying art at Syracuse and the Fogg Museum at Harvard. Rejoined the faculty at Howard in 1921 to teach drawing in the Department of Architecture. Herring soon talked and cajoled president Mordecai Johnson into allowing him to start an art department. There is no indication that such an idea had ever remotely occurred to the president. Herring simply wore down Johnson’s resistance through his Charisma and relentless lecturing on the cultural value of art. With the aid and cooperation of Dean Harold Hatfield, Herring organized the Art Department at the end of 1921. The new department was housed in one room on the second floor of the Engineering and Architecture Building. Gwendolyn Bennett was appointed as instructor in the department. Herring remained chairman of the department until his retirement in 1952. He talked Alma Thomas away from studying home economics and made her his first and only art major in 1923. When Thomas graduated in 1924, it was said that she was he first woman in America ever to gain a bachelor’s degree in art. Others destined for distinction would study there shortly after. Delilah Pierce and Lucille (Malkia) Roberts, friends and colleagues of Thomas, studied there. The eminent sculptor Elizabeth Catlett graduated from therein 1936. Before 1930 James Porter had studied at Howard; later, Ellis Wilson, Alonzo Aden and Charles Alston did too. In subsequent years, the distinguished ceramist Earl Hooks would study with “the Professor,” as would David Driskell and a large number of others.
No sooner had Herring started the Art Department when he began to argue for a larger faculty. When Gwendolyn Bennett left to study abroad in 1928, she was replaced by James Porter who had recently finished studying with Herring. Porter taught painting and art history. In 1929, James Wells was appointed to teach printmaking. In 1930, a young Boston painter named Lois Jones was appointed to teach drawing and design.
By 1930, Herring had talked president Mordecai Johnson into another venture: he was allowed to open an art gallery on the ground floor of Rankin Memorial Chapel. Herring, ever the cunning politician, had convinced friends in the university administration of the professional and social benefits of a gallery. President Johnson capitulated not only to the founding of the gallery but also to the appointment in 1930 of Alonzo Aden as its curator.
Kurt Wiener, printer, patron, friend ofHerring and Aden, said of Herring: “To understand how these things were accomplished you must understand the tenacious personality that was James Herring.” To his many friends—and foes—Herring was a charming, shrewd, and often cantankerous character. “A vivid memory of Herring,” said Wiener, “was to walk with him across campus on a Saturday while he gave imitations of president Johnson.” Indeed, the personalities of Herring and Aden are explored in this essay much more than are those of anyone else because their personalities were such important factors in their achievements.
Herring never thought he had won enough from president Johnson. He finally argued for a budget to purchase art for the newly founded gallery. He pointed to the gallery’s success in drawing crowds and more attention to the University. The president threw in the towel. Herring had made many friends and business contacts from his days as a student at Syracuse and at the Fogg Museum. When he began to purchase work for the gallery, he would call upon his contacts, traveling to New York to negotiate for exhibitions and to purchase art for the University. Sometimes he would travel with Duncan Phillips and thereby gain entry to art information previously excluded from blacks.
Thus, Herring built a department, a faculty, an exhibition program and a permanent collection at Howard. The Howard Collection has not remained intact but the records show purchases of numerous paintings, graphics and sculpture of an impressive number of artists, many of whom have already been mentioned. The Collection came to include works by just about every major Afro-American artist of the day. Motley was included as were Barthé, Sargent Johnson, William H. Johnson, Charles White, Marion Perkins, Catlett, Crite, Savage, Wilson Alston, Sebree, Carter and Lawrence. Later Bearden, Crichlow, Norman Lewis, Lois Jones, Wells, Tanner, Duncanson, Bannister, Woodruff and Dempsey would be added. There were also works by Phillip Evergood, Milton Avery, Max Weber, Jacob Kainen, Jack Perlmutter, l. Rice Pereira, Theodoros Stamos, Matisse, the German Expressionists and the French Impressionists. Of course Herring’s achievements were not nearly on the some grand scale as those of Duncan Phillips, who was the most resourceful modernist patron in the city; but Herring was to search out a variety of other artistic directions.
Over the years, Herring and the gallery were to hold a commendable record of exhibitions. By the Tenth Anniversary Exhibition in 1940, Archibald Motley had exhibited there, as had Aaron Douglass, Woodruff, Sargent Johnson, William H.Johnson, Perkins, Hayden, Crite, Sebree and Carter. Before 1940, Charles Demuth had already shown there, as well as Milton Avery, Laura Wheeler Waring and Pietro Lazzari. Exhibitions of European twentieth century art and African tribal art had been held there, too. Indeed, the Howard Gallery and the Atlanta Annual Exhibitions were the best known ongoing Afro-American exhibition programs at that time. In 1940 the University was in a position to commission a bust ofAntonio Maceo by Cuba’s distinguished Teodoro Ramos Blanco. It was unveiled in Rankin Chapel in 1941. In 1942 the Gallery held a fine exhibition called “American Prints,” another called “French Themes in Art,” and yet another called the “Negro in the American Scene.“ The last one had a catalog that included black and white reproductions and a fine essay by Charles Seymour, Jr.
Although Alonzo Aden was the curator of the Gallery, most of the shows were the ideas of Herring. Several were organized by Porter before 1940 and others by Aden himself. In 1943, as a result of personal disagreements with the administration, Aden resigned as curator of the Gallery. While at Howard, he had been responsible for accessioning the collection, installing the exhibitions and preparing the catalogs and press releases. Aden, with a solid curatorial background, had become curator of the Howard Art Gallery in 1930. He had come to Washington in 1920 and studied art history with Herring at Howard. With a Rockefeller Foundation grant in 1935, he had left Howard to study curatorial work at the Buffalo Museum of Science. In 1936 he was lent by Howard to the US. Chamber of Commerce as curator of the exhibition on Negro life at the Texas Centennial Exhibition. Under a grant from the American Association of Museums, he traveled to Europe, studying in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium. In 1940 Alain Locke invited Aden to be curator of the Negro Exhibition which opened at the Chicago Natural History Museum (just months before the Howard Art Gallery’s Tenth Anniversary Show).
After leaving Howard and some aborted minor ventures, Aden joined Herring in founding the Barnett—Aden Gallery. It began as a modest gallery, but it was to grow into one of the most important in the city. Many of the gallery’s activities have already been outlined in Chapter One. The style and nature of its operation were important factors in the influence of Afro— Americans in Washington during that time. The Barnett—Aden Gallery started on the first floor of Herring’s house at 127 Randolph Place, N.W. The Gallery was named in honor of Aden’s mother’s family name: Barnett. Soon Mrs. Barnett would come to live with Herring and Aden. A friend, Mrs. Laura Carson, came to the first opening and bought a modest work of art to encourage them. It was the only sale.
Since Herring’s career was established at Howard, why then did he risk spreading himself too thin and endangering his reputation with this dubious gallery venture? He was committed to Aden and his restless personality and his love-hate relationship with Howard attracted him to a situation where he could display his rebelliousness vis-a-vis Howard. All his life, Herring was at odds with the University to which he had dedicated so much.
At first Alonzo Aden thought of making Barnett—Aden a black gallery. Friends argued against it saying that there was no such thing as “black art.” As a result, the Barnett-Aden Gallery came to be modeled substantially after the Howard Art Gallery. Ultimately it was able to do shows beyond Howard’s scope. Herring and Aden experimented with exhibitions and gave exposure to many young artists.
The Barnett-Aden Gallery had a difficult beginning. At first the quality of the art it showed left a great deal to be desired and money was short—Herring’s salary from the University being the only stable source. Yet, despite these handicaps, people came to the gallery primarily to be with the entertaining and stimulating personalities: Herring and Aden, both of whom must have been among the most interesting characters of their time. They lived together and became famous for their colorful afternoon openings. They were very “continental” in their manners, worldly in conversation and, coincidentally, great cooks.
The social crowd of the art world would attend their parties and their openings. Duncan and Marjorie Phillips would come, as would the directors of the Corcoran and the National Collection of Fine Arts. Sometimes a congressman would come and at other times so would Eleanor Roosevelt. Like Herring, Aden was light skinned and was able to move discreetly in white society. They both catered to a class of blacks who were compatible with “refined society” and higher education. In every way they were “acceptable negroes.” Herring dressed in the most dignified three-piece elegance. The more flamboyant Aden, young and beautiful, draped himself in high fashion from, hat to shoe. Kurt Wiener remembers going to many of the parties and openings. He recalls well—dressed black women at the Sunday afternoon openings who would come in long gowns and lace and white gloves and sit and sip tea. They were truly the “upper class black people.” Therese Schwartz remembers the parties she would attend with Irene Rice Pereira and Theodoros Stamos would be there and many others. To Schwartz, they were the most integrated affairs of their day in Washington.
In order to get the gallery going, Herring again employed his shrewdness and discreet contacts. He would let the word go out in New York that he was doing “something big” in Washington. Soon many distinguished artists wanting to show south of New York and dealers wanting to spread their markets would be in touch with him. He would travel to New York (at Howard’s expense?) to select exhibitions both for Howard and Barnett-Aden. Although the gallery developed a distinguished exhibition record, it was never affluent. Herring controlled the financial arrangements and programmed the shows. He had an agreement with the artists that allowed him to choose and retain one work from each show. All gallery sales went in full to the artists. With this arrangement, he was able to attract very good artists who were usually assured of a higher percentage of what was sold than they could get elsewhere. At times, Herring would later sell or trade works that he had retained. Sometimes, too, he would buy other works and put together an exhibition from his collection. By the time he died in 1969, the Barnett—Aden Collection was very large and established.
For his part, Aden worked at the new gallery pretty much in the strictly curatorial manner that he had done at Howard, although he did organize several exhibitions for the gallery and for other institutions as well. Aden also joined Kurt Wiener (the director) and Jacob Kainen and Beatrice Rudes of the Institute of Contemporary Art in administering the art exhibitions of the Dupont Theatre Gallery.
Toward the end of the 1950s the Barnett-Aden Gallery began to decline—dramatically so after Aden’s untimely death in 1961. Thereafter, Herring seemed to shed his dynamic will.The Barnett-Aden Gallery left no legacy of a consistent direction; it left no reputation for consistent good taste either. But it did bring to the city exceptionally good art with remarkable frequency for nearly twenty years, as Herring increasingly shifted his energy from Howard to Barnett-Aden. The gallery continued after Alonzo Aden’s death and, though in decline, would operate until Herring’s death. Herring bequeathed his large collection to others outside ofHoward University. Part of his collection went to his long-time friend and gallery supporter, Cecil Marquez, in New York. Another part went to another friend, supporter and board member, Dr. Felton Earls, in St. Louis. The major portion of his collection went to Adolphus Ealey in Washington.
Herring’s work as a gallery director had other larger influences. At first, it provided a gallery experience for the young James Porter and, many years later, a rich experience for the young student David Driskell. “I learned a great deal about how to operate a gallery at Barnett—Aden,” said Driskell, who worked there after his classes at Howard in the late forties. It was this invaluable experience that he drew upon years later as acting chairman at Howard and dramatically so as chairman and gallery director of the art program at Fisk University.
When Herring resigned the chairmanship of the Howard Department of Art in 1952, James Porter was more than a thoroughly worthy successor. Porter, it will be recalled, had been a student at Howard where he graduated with high honors from the Art Department in 1927. He was then appointed to the faculty by Herring to teach painting. He would later leave to study further at the Art Students’ League in New York. He won the Arthur Schomberg prize of the Harmon Foundation in 1935. That same year he travelled to Paris and studied archaeology at the Sorbonne. He returned to the US. and finished an M.A. in art history at New York University in 1937. By this time, he had also developed a distinguished reputation as an artist. His work was being shown in such institutions as the Corcoran, National Collection of Fine Arts, Museum of Modern Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Baltimore and Oakland Museums.
By 1943, the year of the publication of his book, Modern Negro Art, Porter was already very well known as a national figure in American painting. However, this book was to make him even more famous. It became a classic and was hailed internationally as the most significant work ever published on the subject. It listed over 100 artists and works of many anonymous craftsmen. Porter lectured widely; he traveled to the West Indies, Central and South America, to Europe and to Africa. In 1963 Porter traveled throughout Africa lecturing on African-American art for the US. Department of State Cultural Program. In 1965 he expanded some earlier research in an essay called “One Hundred Fifty Years of Afro-American Art” for a catalog- book that supplemented an exhibition at U.C.L.A. Porter’s updated essay addressed the issue of the new tempo of black consciousness and related it to the period of the Harlem Renaissance. In so doing, Porter was finally to tip his hat in respectful acknowledgment to Locke, as we shall see a little later. (We might recall from his 1936 criticism of Locke in the Art Front essay that Porter thought Locke was simply racist. It is interesting to see how his position evolved over the years.)
At first Porter’s direction of the Howard Art Gallery did not seem noticeably different from Herring’s. It was obvious that his exhibitions had greater scope as he showed works by Latin American and West Indian artists, including Wilson Bigaud of Haiti, Teodoro Ramos Blanco and Wifredo Lam of Cuba and Candido Portinari of Brazil. He also continued to show some of the best American artists including Ernest Crichlow, Norman Lewis, Hughie Lee-Smith and Merton Simpson.
Later, Porter’s direction of the gallery became much more scholarly and focused than Herring’s.24 He concerned himself with intra—cultural association as a foundation for the development of modernism. Although he approved of the relevance of Afro-American art, he would accept it only at its highest levels. There is a story that he once held up a painting by Wifredo Lam in response to criticism that he did not respect black values in art. “When you can do it this well,” he was alleged to have said, pointing to the Lam, “then and only then will I respect your work.” The story is probably only apocryphal. The discreet and gentle Porter would almost never have resorted to such vehemence. However, the story does reflect his position and shows it in contrast to that of Locke, who argued for a foundation of black consciousness as prerequisite to original art. Porter championed Afro- American artists according to generally accepted criteria and he outlined their historical and aesthetic importance based upon those assumptions. Thus Porter’s Modern Negro Art contained much in-depth research about Afro-American artists. He put chronological sources of influences and the relative importance of these artists into scrupulously intelligent order. However, the book contained no real foundation for a revision of established aesthetic assumptions. Yet his thinking on this matter was to evolve slowly. By the time of his 1965 essay, One Hundred Fifty Years of Afro-American Art, Porter had come to embrace ideas espoused many years before by Locke. In the intervening years, Porter had organized many African art exhibitions for Howard University, including one of the works of Nigeria’s Ben Enwonwu in 1951, a major show of African Art in 1953 and the “New Vistas” show in 1961.
The exhibition “New Vistas in American Art,” reflects his world view. It included the work of black and white artists from all over America and was intended to show the expanded cultural base of modernism in America ranging historically from prominent artists of the thirties to the emerging talent of the present day. In the introduction to the catalog Porter wrote: “We have been careful…not to invite artists merely on the basis of political, social or cultural bias since the duty of the artist is not just to sit in judgement upon the times in which he lives, but to reflect on and interpret them.” And then, further on: “No one, I am sure, will question the inclusion of the old masters of contemporary art, Robert Gwathemy, Phillip Evergood, David Burliuk, Jacob Lawrence and Charles White…although the exhibition includes representatives from all regions—the West, South, North and East— it is not intended to suggest that mere geographical latitude is constant with ideational breadth and variety…New Vistas in American Art includes the work of both White and negro artists and incontestably proves that, regardless of racial or cultural bias, there is a vigorous unifying current of creativity in American art today.” Thus, Porter and the Howard Art Department and Gallery had, over thirty years, fulfilled its missions—to broaden the scope ofAmerican modernism by cultivating artists of a wider cultural range and to expose this Wider scope to the people of the city of Washington.
Moreover, Porter’s ideas about cultural synthesis encouraged a generation of Afro-American artists who sought no particular racial or ethnic identity in their work. There was nothing “ethnic” about the poetic abstractions of Norman Lewis, who was influenced by Porter and showed in Washington several times in the fifties. Merton Simpson, too, found encouragement in Porter’s direction and could fuse his sense of African art’s formal schema into an arena of abstract painting. Others working in similar directions included Sam Middleton, David Driskell, John Rhoden, Delilah Pierce, Earl Hooks and Alma Thomas. Porter’s ideas provided major moral support for a generation of Afro-American artists to articulate diverse imagery with cultural freedom.
In his 1965 article, “One Hundred Fifty Years of Afro-American Art,” Porter, ever the scrupulous and ethical scholar, noted the many indispensable contributions made by whites to the understanding of African and Afro- American art. He especially noted the work of Melville Herskovits, Morton Kahn and Franz Boaz, and put these in relationship to the work of E. Franklin Frazier, Carter Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois and Lorenzo Turner.
Porter’s tribute to Locke is extremely significant. Porter wrote: “With the advent of the ‘New Negro Movement’ in the 19205, the formative arts of painting, sculpture, of the print and of design finally became the acknowledged province of the American Negro. Prior to that period, the impact of African Art as developed through the conscious use made of its idiom by Picasso, Matisse, Vlaminck, Derain and certain German Expressionist painters, had also been felt in the Americas. Yet, the significance of that event for Negro Art in America was not defined until Alain Locke employed his astute critical powers and his ready pen to appraise the past performances of the Negro artist and to explain the Afro- American’s connection with African art as ‘The Ancestral Arts.’ Perhaps it is now quite certain that Locke’s main contribution to our appreciation of Modern ‘Afro-American Art’ was his interesting apology for the distinctive aesthetic-racial (but not the ’primitive’) traits of African Art; and second, his rather romantic advocacy of those characteristics as a point of departure for the young American Negro artists.” Thus, by 1965 Porter had come full circle in his assessment of Locke from his scathing denunciation of Locke’s philosophy in his 1936 article for Art Front.
Porter had graciously acknowledged an earlier error in his thinking and had further recognized the changed artistic climate of the day. As David Driskell said of that period, “Not since the Negro Renaissance . . . had black writers and visual artists seemed so close to the ideals of a common ground of this artistry. The black revolution was helping to bring about this new unity in the arts.”
It must be recognized that by 1965 the impact and importance of the Howard University Department of Art and the Barnett—Aden Gallery had significantly diminished. Indeed, this process had begun in the middle 1950s. Morris Louis taught painting at Howard from 1952 to 1956, and artists such as David Driskell studied with him. In 1953 Leon Berkowitz had shown at the Barnett-Aden Gallery, as had Kainen, Perlmutter and Herman Maril. Robert Gates and William Calfee had shown at the Howard Gallery. By the mid—fifties the Howard group and other black artists in the city had begun showing regularly at Franz Bader, the Watkins Gallery ofAmerican University and at the Corcoran. Early in the sixties, Washington Color School artist Howard Mehring was teaching at Howard, as was Lila Asher. Afro— American institutions had become integrated into the fabric of the Washington art world. Yet, somehow they ceased to exert much influence. There is no evidence that the Color School either influenced or was influenced by Afro-Americans, even though Louis and Mehring and another Washington artist, Francis Luzallo, taught at Howard and even though Davis and Berkowitz showed at Howard and at Barnett—Aden.
The pivotal 1954 Supreme Court decision on racial segregation neutralized the distinctive nature of Afro-American art institutions. Breaking down color barriers, the decision also meant the end of the mirage of a black upper class. The so—called “black society” upon which Herring and Aden had built an audience inexorably dissolved after 1954. As blacks gained more social mobility, they lost dependence upon an insulating parochial class. This black “upper-class” had also reflected the vague aesthetic assumptions of Herring’s generation. As the chimera of a black elite eroded, the support for its art faded with it.
By 1965, the Howard Art Gallery became meaningful to a different kind of audience. This new audience was more predominantly black, but, interestingly, it was much smaller and consisted primarily of artists themselves. As the black “upper” class disappeared, so too did its audience of patrons. With no wider audience, Howard and Barnett-Aden gradually lost their place of importance. So it was that from about the mid-fifties, black artists themselves came to replace their institutions as the conveyors of influence of Afro-Americans in Washington. Their raison d’être was a renewed black consciousness and an accompanying search for a pan- African ideology.
It did not mean that Afro-American institutions ceased to cooperate. Far from it. Their role simply evolved into that of educator of a future generation. The Howard Art Department led the way in this role. In 1940 the faculty of four included Herring, Porter, Jones and Wells. By 1960 it had more than doubled and many important people had already taught there. The Department had grown in several ways: the scope of the studio program had come to include a broader range of contemporary thought through the teaching of people like Morris Louis and Howard Mehring. It had also revitalized its focus to infuse modern Afro-American painting with the imagery of African ancestral arts through the revision in Lois Jones’s teaching. Her early work was very accomplished but quite conventional and influenced by French Impressionism. Jones had studied in Paris where she met her husband, the great Haitian designer and illustrator, Louis Vergniauds Pierre Noel. Within that marriage, Jones became profoundly involved with Haitian culture—a fact that extended her conceptions to the very essence of African civilization. Further, because of the influence of Alain Locke and her colleagues at Howard, Jones evolved a foundation of Afro-American art in her work and extended it into her teaching. The strength of Jones’s direction atHoward was reinforced by her former student David Driskell, who came back from Talladega College to teach painting at Howard in 1962. Driskell, who became acting chairman of the department in the mid-sixties (while Porter was on leave), also added a strong dimension of Abstract Expressionist thinking, which in some ways must have related to ideas of Louis, Mehring and the printmaker Lila Asher (who had come to teach at Howard in 1948). It was no oddity that Louis, Mehring and Asher were white artists.
Indeed many whites with distinguished credentials, including many notable art historians, had taught at Howard from the forties. One of the earliest was Celene Tabary who taught ceramics there. There was also Dr. Franz Rap, who taught European art history. He had come to Howard early in the forties and was a full professor when he died in 1953. Lila Asher replaced Tabary as ceramics teacher in 1948 and later taught drawing; David Wilke taught American art there between 1950 and 1953. There was also Dr. John Shapley, a founding member of the College Arts Association of America His wife was the head of the Kress Foundation, Washington branch, at the National Gallery. Dr. Shapley had taught at Princeton and during the late fifties and early sixties he taught Middle Eastern art history at Howard and at Catholic University. There was also Dr. McMillan, who commuted from Harvard to Howard where he taught Oriental Art. Mrs. Delano taught Renaissance art history and took students to Florence on study trips (she died in Florence). Dr. Spingarn taught art history. Later he was joined on the faculty by Dr. Joanna Shaw Eagle, who came to teach Oriental art in 1965. Dr. Shaw Eagle taught at the same time as Dr. Shapley; thus fora time Howard’s faculty boasted two distinguished Oriental art historians.
At one time there were as many as eight art historians on the Art Department faculty at Howard, including Asians, Caucasians and blacks. Dr. Regina Perry, a distinguished black art historian also taught there in 1965. Porter himself taught the history of Mexican art, Latin American art, Negro art and African art. Porter read and spoke French, Spanish and Portuguese. Before him, Herring had taught art appreciation and Oriental art. During the fifties and sixties the Howard Art Department had about fifty art majors in any given year. They would study both art history and studio art. In the late sixties the Department had begun to prepare a PhD. program in art history.
Lois Jones was a tremendous asset to the studio program. Indeed it was Jones who first made contact with the founders of the Skowhegan School of Art in Maine and arranged for a Howard student to be awarded a Skowhegan scholarship annually. This practice began with the founding of the Skowhegan School in 1946 and continued until Porter’s death. David Driskell was an early recipient of a Skowhegan scholarship and Leo Robinson received one many years later. That program considerably widened the scope of the education and of the art world contacts of Howard students. Early in the 1950s it was Lois Jones who taught her design students the schema of African designs and developed a strong and lasting tradition of African-type compositions in the Art Department.
In 1954 Porter and the Howard Art Gallery organized an exhibition of African contemporary art with the help of the Harmon Foundation. For the first time on a large scale in America, the exhibition showed work of emerging and established contemporary Africans. The impact of the show on the students at Howard was enormous, as it was on other black artists. It encouraged them to pursue ancestral African possibilities anew and to be affiliated with African art in an ever—growing sense of pan-African camaraderie. Years later, the distinguished Ethiopian painter, Skunder Bogasshian, came to teach at Howard as a result of this pan-African connection. By the time David Driskell became acting chairman and director of the art gallery in 1965, Howard’s Art Department had the most distinguished tradition anywhere in the Washington area. The Corcoran was a professional school; and none of the big local schools—American University, Catholic University, the University of Maryland—could boast such a distinguished tradition of students or faculty.
To restate, the ideas at Howard had come to have less influence on the dominant art trends of the city. There was an enormous vitality at Howard but its interests were either more about black artists’ concerns (as in the case of the African contemporary show or the teachings of Lois Jones, to mention just two examples) or they were more academic in orientation and removed from commercial art activity. Herring, ever the pragmatist, had directed the Gallery and Art Department with regard to more timely concerns of all artists, with relation to contemporary trends in New York, and as they might be influential in Washington. Porter’s direction was more scholarly, and less concerned with timely issues of Washington. Almost ironically, Porter, who had been critical of Locke’s preoccupation with the possibilities of black artists, evolved a brilliant program but one which, however unintentionally, was very contained. As a result, the Howard Art Department came to confront the very essence of the black artist’s predicament that the development of black art education is necessarily isolationist since no place has ever been provided for it in the mainstream of American art. Locke in his grave must have smiled at Porter’s predicament. At the time of Porter’s death in 1970, the Art Department, fueled by the civil unrest of the late sixties, was geared to reevaluate its position and function in the world o fart.
Yet there can be no doubt that the prominence of Howard during Porter’s chairmanship encouraged a young State Department executive to begin yet another kind of Afro-American educational institution. The man was Warren Robbins and the institution was to become the Museum of African Art. Robbins had been a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Information Agency in Europe where he had put together a small but select collection of modern European paintings, drawings and prints.
While he was chief of the USIA cultural program in Germany, Robbins “discovered” African art and developed the idea of establishing a permanent museum of African Art in the Nation’s capital. Robbins’s interest in German Expressionism led him to a study of African sculpture, which he learned had been a primary influence on twentieth century European art. By the time he returned to the U.S. in 1960, he had acquired a small collection of African objects. He then began to discuss his ideas about a museum of African art with many people, not the least of whom was James Porter.
Like Porter, Robbins was interested in inter-cultural associations and cultural synthesis and in 1962 Porter invited him to exhibit his collection at Howard. The exhibition afforded Robbins a unique opportunity not only to become acquainted with the Afro-American art world but also to introduce many of his white colleagues in State Department and USlA circles to Howard University and particularly to the art gallery. Among the several hundred persons who visited the exhibition were Kurt Wiener, the late Edgar Breitenbach and the young Alan Fern of the Library of Congress, later to become director of the National Portrait Gallery.
With further encouragement of many friends, black and white, and in a rising tide of civil rights consciousness, Robbins founded his museum in 1964. It was the only such museum in America. Robbins used his own small collection as a nucleus and with borrowed funds purchased the first of the twin Douglass townhouses at 316-318 A Street, Northeast. In 1966, he purchased and converted the other half of the century-old house to accommodate not only additional galleries for the Museum of African Art but a companion Frederick Douglass Institute of Negro Arts and History, which he established with Carroll Greene, Jr. The expansion of the Museum/Institute in scope and space helped convince officials of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Office of Education and a number of private foundations that the time had come to support an institution devoted to African and Afro-American art history. Robbins borrowed African art from collectors and museums until his own museum received donations of objects for its permanent collection. By 1970 the collection had grown to more than 5,000 objects. This is all the more remarkable since Robbins was Jewish and had no prior professional experience in art, museum operations or fund-raising. What he had was a relentless passion and a dream of profound racial and cultural integration. From the first, his philosophy was to combine African art with the concept of cultural exchange and to utilize the art museum for purposes of social education.
“It is very important for the predominantly white population of America to have a better understanding of African culture and a better understanding of the cultural antecedents of America’s black population,” Robbins said. “It’s equally important for Black Americans to have an opportunity to learn more about African culture, its legitimacy, its creative richness. To create some kind of foundation for understanding, you have to use the tools of anthropology, sociology, history, archaeology, art history—many different academic and intellectual tools.” The museum collection soon came to include mainly sculpture but also textiles, weaponry, and musical instruments together with paintings by 19th and 20th century Afro- American artists. Over the years, its many educational programs and the educational focus of its exhibitions have influenced many young artists and thinkers in the city and throughout the country. Its collection also came to include works by outstanding 19th century black American artists such as Henry Tanner, Edward M. Bannister and Edmonia Lewis. This section of the museum’s collection was developed byCarroll Greene, Jr., who worked with Warren Robbins.
- For example, Herring and Locke were not friends socially. Although they had a cordial professional relationship, they waged a cold war on campus. It is said that Herring never forgave Locke for supposedly writing somewhere that Locke had founded the Howard Art Department. Adolphus Ealey recalled Herring’s reaction to Locke: “He never mentioned me in any of his writing, did he?” This implies that Herring must have read everything that Locke had written.
On campus, students would carry repartee back and forth from one man to another, each always swearing to bury the other, but neither man actually spoke to the other. Eye witnesses at Locke’s funeral recalled that Herring, ever the melodramatic, got to the church early enough to be seen apart from the crowd. He was elegant as always, this time dressed in a white suit, white shoes and white hat to go with his diamond pin and diamond cuff links. He tapped his cane and walked slowly but purposefully up to the casket and peered dispassionately at the body of the great man, as if to make sure that the body could not move itself; and all the while he continued his habitual vague humming under his breath. Then he moved away. Rather than take a seat as was expected, he walked out of the church, passing a hushed audience, and said, just loudly enough to be heard: “I told him I would see him buried.”
- Porter is said to have treated Herring with less than deference. He recognized himself to be a scholar with principles and focus and he thought of Herring as a wheeler and dealer. Similarly, Lois Jones and Porter often disagreed on the direction of the art studio program at Howard. He thought she was insubordinate at times. But Herring liked her spunk. He would say “she is the best man in the Department.” However, they worked together as professionals. Porter would exhibit work by some of Herring’s friends and vice versa. Porter, for example, was a very close friend of Nicolai Cikovsky whom Herring showed at Barnett—Aden and Porter showed Herring’s friend Pietro Lazzari in the Howard Gallery.
- Although Thomas had become an art student at the persuasion of Herring, their life-long relationship was never harmonious. They visited each other frequently throughout the years and Thomas served on the Board of Directors of the Barnett-Aden Gallery, but the general belief is that this was a love-hate relationship.
- Locke was professor of Education at Howard from 1912 to 1914, when he became professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department. This became a very distinguished Department. Among its scholars was Kirmit McCallaster (whom Locke hired). McCallaster had a brilliant mind. He had graduated from Talladega College at age 14 and earned a PhD. from the University of Michigan at age 21.
- It has more recently been printed by Arno Press.
- Locke wrote catalog essays for many of the exhibitions at the Howard Art Gallery. He also wrote the catalog essay for the 1944 exhibition, “New Names in American Art,” at Washington’s G.Place Gallery, which was updated for the show when it went to the Baltimore Museum of Art later the same year. He wrote the essay, “The Negro Artist Comes of Age,” for an exhibition of Afro-American art at the Albany Institute of History and Art in 1945.
- His books include The Problems of Classification in the Theory of Value and Values and Imperatives in American Philosophy: Today and Tomorrow. In 1935 he published The Negro in America and in 1936 The Negro and His Music. The next year he wrote The Negro: Past and Present. His final major work, The Negro in American Culture, was completed by Margaret Just Butcher after his death.
- Porter expressed his disagreement with Locke in an article for Art Front in 1936. He said, “Dr. Locke’s recent pamphlet, ’Negro Art, Past and Present’ is intended to bolster his already wide reputation as a champion of Africanness in Negro Art. This little pamphlet…is one of the greatest dangers to the negro artist to arise in recent years. It contains a narrow point of view, presented in seductive language…Dr. Locke supports the defeatist philosophy of the ‘segregationist’…weakly he has yielded to the insistence of the white segregationist that there are inescapable internal differences between white and black.”
- Jones said that her painting “MobVictim” (1944) was her first major work inspired by Locke. The painting shows a black man in defiant dignity as he is being lynched. Lynching was still common in the South and Jones felt the idea was an important image to render. The painting was included in the “New Names in American Art” exhibition at the G. Place Gallery and was also included in the same show at the Baltimore Museum that year. Florence Berryman noted Jones’s “Mob Victim” in her review of the G.Place exhibition in The Washington Star, as did E, D. Emmart in The Baltimore Sun, May 21, 1944.
- At the Fogg Museum, Herring furthered his studies of curatorship and Oriental art history. It is also known that Herring, in his early travels to Europe had spent much time sailing around Venice before coming to Howard. During World War I he was Secretary of the YMCA. in Tuscumbia, Alabama, where he coordinated activities of the workers in three adjacent towns. Some think it was here that Herring developed the negotiating skills he would use so effectively later on.
- In 1932, as a result of Herring’s persuasion, Mrs. Avery Coonly donated one thousand dollars to be used to renovate the Art Gallery at Howard. The Gallery was designed by Albert Cassell, head of the Architecture Department who had first appointed Herring to the Howard University faculty. Herring also became director of University College Art Services under the counsel of the Carnegie Corporation and the Harmon Foundation. This program circulated exhibitions to black colleges and so Herring was in a position to argue for better gallery facilities to support this national prominence that he had brought to Howard. Herring then arranged to have international prints provided to both the University College Art Services program and the Howard Art Gallery through Harry Cohen of Ferdinand Roten in Baltimore. He became a member of the board of the College Arts Association of America in the early 1930s. Herring soon thereafter received a grant of five thousand dollars through the C.A.A. The money was used for the purchase of reference books, photographs, slides and numerous other necessities for the Gallery.
- Herring frequently passed for white and used this deception to facilitate many contacts and to gain entry to the white art world His mother was black and his father was Jewish. He had his father’s dark hair and “Mediterranean” complexion and so he was often mistaken for a Jew or Latin, This deception helped him to make contacts at Syracuse. It facilitated his travels on the railroad. When he worked for the YMCA. between Tuscumbia and Florence in Alabama, he always traveled in the white section of the train. Later, he would draw upon Syracuse connections and when necessary he was not above using racial deception to move more freely within the white gallery establishment in New York.
- The Atlanta Annual was an exhibition of juried Afro-American Art. It was established in 1931 by Hale Woodruff at Atlanta University where he had gone to teach from New York. The Atlanta Annuals attracted the best Afro-American artists in the US. for many years. Although Woodruff left Atlanta in 1946, the shows continued until 1970. In 1973 most of the work purchased as prizes for the Atlanta Annuals was given to the High Museum.
- Reviewed in The Washington Post, December 13, 1942, p. 5L, by Ida Rainey.
- This one received a major review from Ida Rainey in The Washington Post, November 8, 1942, p. 51., and another, also on November 8 in The Washington Star, p. E5.
- A notable example was the exhibition “Three Artists of Philadelphia,” organized by Adenat the Howard Gallery in 1940. It included Sam Brown, Laura Wheeler Waring and Allan Freelon.
- Herring and Aden also tried to run a gift shop on Florida Avenue before moving the Gallery to Herring’s home at 127 Randolph Place, NW.
- It is alleged that Aden would say that the house was owned by him, which angered Herring, who always insisted that the house was his. The story goes that the name of the gallery was in honor not only of the Barnett family but of some funds that they contributed. This also angered Herring. What is known is that Alonzo Aden came from a well-to-do family in South Carolina and that his father had been a newspaper printer.
Soon after the opening of the Gallery, Aden’s mother came to live with them. People remember that she usually wore a black gown and pearls around the house and carried herself in an aristocratic manner. Aden always blamed his dead father for having squandered the family money and for the resulting diminution of their aristocratic self-image. He said that his black ancestors had travelled freely from Africa. “We were never slaves!” he would frequently tell his friends.
- Like Herring, Aden passed for white when he needed to. He was fairer than Herring and in his youth he was very handsome with his blonde hair, green eyes and slender body. Sexually, many men and women were attracted to him.
- Therese Schwartz, “Demystifying Pereira,” Art in America, October 1979, pp. 114-119.
- In New York, Herring dealt with the Downtown Gallery, which, after Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery, was probably the most important gallery there. Edith Halpert directed the Downtown Gallery and showed Jacob Lawrence. Herring also worked with the Antoinette Kraushaar and the A.C.A. Gallery. He also had dealings with J.B. Neumann, who published on African art and who bought works by black artists including Lawrence and Bearden.
- Located in the lobby of the Dupont Theatre, this modest gallery had some impressive exhibitions. Gene Davis had his first show there in 1952. The Howard faculty showed there, as did Alma Thomas. David Driskell showed there in 1952 also.
- President Mordecai Johnson, ever weary of Herring, took the opportunity to insist upon Herring’s retirement in his 65th year. For the rest of his life Herring complained that his Howard pension had been set at $4.95 per month by the vindictive president. That might have been technically correct when the University section was subtracted from his total monthly government pension of some three hundred dollars. Herring never bothered to mention the major part of his monthly pension, preferring to milk as much dramatic martyrdom as he could from the outrageous $4.95, which was, of course, absurdly miniscule. Herring took his hatred of president Mordecai Johnson, his successor James Naibritt and the Howard administration to his grave and ensured that the university never got one piece from his highly desired art collection.
- With Alonzo Aden’s resignation, James Carter became curator of the Howard Art Gallery and he held the position for over thirty years. A gifted painter, Carter also provided a thorough cataloging of the Howard art collection.
- Driskell, David C., “Bibliographies in Afro-American Art,” Howard University, 1978.
- The museum and Institute are housed in the first Washington residence of Frederick Douglass, the runaway slave who became advisor to Lincoln and United States Minister to Haiti. Douglass who had a long and illustrious career as an abolitionist, orator, publisher and government official, has come to be regarded as a founding father of modern Afro-American thinking. The Museum complex eventually came to include an entire row of nine interconnected town houses. Their exteriors were restored to reflect their Victorian character. A new wing was opened in 1971, and was named after its principal donor, David Lloyd Kreeger.
- See discussion of Greene’s role in Chapter III.
- By 1970, several million dollars had been raised from both National Endowments and under Title III of the Elementary and Secondary School Act, which provided funds for the museum to conduct programs for the District ofColumbia schools. Substantial grants were also received from such major national foundations as Ford, Rockefeller, Mellon, Kress and Kresge and locally from the Carfitz, Strong, Meyer, National Home Library and Dreyfus Foundations.
- John Cuppola, “African Art in Washington’s Teaching Museum,” from Topic magazine, distributed throughout Africa by USIA.
CHAPTER III: ART
Afro-American institutions and thinkers brought a wide range of art into Washington, DC, but what role did the artists play who lived and worked in the city? How much influence did they exert upon the city’s art? How did their work relate to Howard University, the Barnett-Aden Gallery, Locke, Herring and Porter? How did their work reflect upon the general conditions of modernism? These questions are the focus of this chapter.
The period of Afro-American art from 1940 to 1970 in Washington includes a range of ideas from ethnocentricity to internationalism and a return to ethnocentricity. Paths were sometimes in conflict, for there were no goals of agreement nor was there even an agenda among the artists. These paths evolved randomly in consonance with the existing conditions of race, politics, opportunity, social harmony and unrest. It should not be surprising that they came full cycle to places of origin, since some of the artistic problems of Afro-Americans in 1970 were not so very different from those prevailing in 1940. Nevertheless, the more recent artists tackled old problems with a new dimension of artistic sensibility and by so doing expanded on the vision of modernism. Other artists occupied themselves with entirely new problems, moving laterally and refusing to be concerned with the old problems, and forged fresh paths of art. This then is about the artists: their directions, their conflicts and their achievements.
Many of the most important Afro-American artists had shown in Washington prior to 1940. Sargent Johnson, Augusta Savage, Richmond Barthe’, Horace Pippin and Jacob Lawrence were among those who had shown at Howard; others exhibited in Washington area museums. In 1933, for example, the National Collection of Fine Arts exhibited “Negro Life and History‘ The show included paintings by Edwin Harleston, Palmer Hayden, William H. Johnson, Archibald Motley, James Porter, William Scott, Laura Wheeler Waring, Hale Woodruff, James Wells, Lois Jones and sculptures by Leslie G. Bolling. Most of these remained major figures in Afro-American art history. In 1934 Motley showed at the Corcoran. A major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Motley had shown in many other important American museums, including the Art Institute in Chicago.
In Chapter One we noted that from 1939 to 1944 Afro-American exhibitions were held at such institutions as the G. Place Gallery, the Whyte Gallery, the Corcoran and the Baltimore Museum. Thus, by the early 1940s, exhibiting important Afro-American artists in Washington had become quite common and acceptable. The influence of their ideas upon the Howard Art Department was profound, as we shall see later. It is doubtful that they had any wider influence upon art of the city. No accurate way to measure their work exists. Not very many artists in the city were doing important art at that time. From all indications, the most important non-Afro-American artists working in the city at that time included Pietro Lazzari, Robert Gates, Jack Perlmutter, William Calfee, Herman Maril, Jacob Kainen, Bernice Cross and Leo Steppat. Lazzari was a fine painter and sculptor from New York (as was Kainen), whose works were exhibited at the G Place Gallery before they were shown at the Whyte and Bader Galleries. Herman Maril, a resident of Baltimore, was a well-known painter who had shown at the Marie Harriman Gallery in New York for years. Jack Perlmutter was already very actively exhibiting in Washington, New York and elsewhere. Kainen, a scholarly and important artist who had recently come from New York to be curator of graphics at the National Collection of Fine Arts (Smithsonian), would further explore his own powers as a mature artist.
Although James Porter was a mature artist by 1940, it cannot be said that he was an important influence on many artists of the city. Four other Afro-American artists who worked then were to become important influences in the course of time. They were Lois Jones, James Wells, Richard Dempsey and Elizabeth Catlett. Romare Bearden also showed here at that time, but he was not yet an important artist. In the 1940s, it was the Howard and Barnett- Aden Galleries, and the ideas of Locke, Porter and Herring that were the dominant influences. Indeed, it is not until the work of Sam Gilliam in the late 1960s that we recognize the extraordinary influence of an Afro-American artist in Washington.
How then was the work of artists such as Jones, Dempsey, Wells, Catlett and others received in the intervening years? They were exhibited, the artists received distinction locally, nationally and internationally, but their sphere of influence remained separate. The black artists knew them, respected them and were influenced by them, but they had no impact on the community of white artists in the city. This is all the more interesting when we remember that many of the white artists were their friends, teachers, students and exhibiting colleagues. The phenomenon tells us something about race relations among artists in America, and it also tells us something about the requisite conditions for artistic influence. These artists and others became significant not in ways that we might have expected, but in line with changed conditions and ideologies. Rather than being “influential” their works were historical markers of a cultural continuum, as we shall see later.
Another kind of artist was to be the first major “influence.” Interestingly this came almost 30 years after the first important Afro-American art was made in Washington. Ironically, this art reflected nothing that was obviously Afro-American. This is the work of Sam Gilliam. He had come to Washington from Louisville, Kentucky, in 1962 with a graduate degree in art from the University of Louisville. He taught in the D.C. public school system and also began to pursue a separate career as a painter. In 1963 and 1964 the Adams-Morgan Gallery exhibited his work. Gilliam’s early work was basically figurative and not at all related to the Washington Color School with which he was to become associated; nor was his work involved with activities at Howard or with Afro-American trends in the city. While the young Gilliam explored figuration at Adams-Morgan in 1964, Clement Greenberg was selecting “Post Painterly Abstraction,” a show which included Gene Davis, Thomas Downing and Howard Mehring, all of whom were already very prominent. Interestingly, too, in 1964 the Catholic University Art Gallery opened with an exhibition of David Driskell, a protege of Porter and an heir to the traditions of Howard and Barnett-Aden. Gilliam was not then as well known as Driskell and was not influenced by the others work.
In 1965, Gilliam was showing in the Jefferson Place Gallery and continued to do so for the next several years. In 1967 he had shown his paintings at the Phillips Gallery and in 1968 developed his historically important series of “draped,” unstretched canvases. Gilliam’s rise to international success following the Walter Hopps Show (called “Gilliam/ Krebs/McGowin”) at the Corcoran in 1969 is well documented. Here we need to look at the conditions that facilitated his rise to international acclaim and to consider the qualities peculiar to his artistic importance.
Gilliam came to Washington in search of opportunity. Obviously he did not come to study the influences of the Howard tradition because, if he had, he would have gravitated there. Neither did Gilliam come with a clear consciousness or expectation about the Color School. He himself said that it was long after he came to the city that he was convinced by artists he had met that his attempt of figuration was “indefensible.” Gilliam, a black man, moved into the world of white artists and attained a mainstream position without precedent. The excellent quality of his work justified his status, but does not explain what facilitated it. For that we need to look at the development of modern art outside the Afro-American community in Washington and realize that both communities existed with mutual respect and unusual harmony despite the overriding racist sentiments of the city.
It appears that the doors had been open to facilitate blacks achieving prominent positions as artists in the city, and the conditions were ripe for talent like Gilliam before he arrived in Washington. Yet black artists who had lived in the city for a generation did not recognize the prevailing conditions and did not take advantage of them because they naturally gravitated toward part of the Howard tradition This is ironic because, especially at the time of Porter’s chairmanship, the Howard tradition clearly articulated the idea of a wider—based American art. The dynamic of that underlying principle was that racism is a continuing problem that needs to be solved. Many Afro-Americans did not see that they had convinced the white artists in the city. They remained preoccupied with the implications of their racial condition and continued to explore it as a legacy. Perhaps the opportunity for an Afro-American artist to acquire a strong role in the direction of art in the city could only have been grasped by an outsider, free of the heritage of the city. What were the conditions that facilitated Sam Gilliam? How did they arise and what was his initial impact? To understand this, we need to look at the conditions of art in the city and some of the other institutions that contributed to them.
As stated, there really was not much important art going on in Washington in the early forties outside of Howard and Barnett-Aden. The first major development in this direction was the creation of the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts in 1947 by Leon Berkowitz and his wife Ida Fox. It was to be a community center to promote local interest and participation in the arts. Berkowitz was the director and the staff included Kainen, Maril, Louis, Lazzari, lack Perlmutter and Lucile Evans. There was an open admissions policy and although most of the people who attended were white, blacks came and were welcome. Delilah Pierce and her friend Alma Thomas took Classes at the workshop. Richard Dempsey, a mature painter then and a good friend of Perlmutter, visited the workshop as did Lois Jones, Porter, Wells, Herring and Malkia Roberts, another Washington Afro-American artist of distinction.
Up to the mid—fifties the workshop was the center of much art activity in Washington and the motivating institution for many who taught or studied there, including Ralph de Burgos, Leo Steppart, Howard Mehring and Tom Downing. Berkowitz was certainly the fire behind the workshop. He and Kainen were the most prominent artists in the city. Berkowitz and the workshop brought many art personalities to the city in the early fifties, especially from New York. The most notable of these was Clement Greenberg, who lectured at the workshop. So, too, did Willem deKooning, Who showed 33 paintings there in his first Washington exhibition in 1953. The gallery or the workshop was cooperative and it readily facilitated the work of many local artists, including Morris Louis who had his first show there in 1953 also.
A second important institution that emerged in the forties was the Institute of Contemporary Art. It, too, was founded in 1947. Robert Richman, the poet, became its director. The focus of the Institute was on formalist— possibilities and structural foundations preliminary to design. If the War .shop motivated a broader camaraderie, the Institute focused on a more particular dimension of contemporary art. Its board of directors appropriately included Sir Herbert Read and the always pioneering Duncan Phillips. Morris Louis studied there. Kenneth Noland, who had recently arrived in the city after having studied at the Black Mountain School with Iosef Albers, became associated with the Institute. Albers himself lectured there and helped to provide a foundation for a generation of Washington artists. The emerging Anne Truitt, who had recently married publisher James Truitt and moved to the city from Baltimore, was also associated with the school. The Institute had an expressed philosophy “based upon the concept that the best way to experience and to understand the fundamental unity of the culture of our time is through interrelated presentation of all the contemporary arts and humanities under one roof.” As Bella Schwartz said, “Anyone familiar with Herbert Head will recognize the origins of that aim…” The school included art exhibitions, lectures, readings, concerts and films. “The student body was racially mixed, which in those days, in Washington [was] a radical and daring move.” The Institute closed in 1952.
Another important art program that began in the forties was the art department of American University. In 1942, C. Law Watkins, who had been director of the studio program at the nearby Phillips Gallery, brought the program to American University. He also brought with him three artists—William Calfee, Sarah Baker and Robert Gates. Together they developed a strong foundation of art in Washington through their teaching and the daring art exhibitions. The gallery is now known as the Watkins Gallery. Ben Summerford went to study there in 1946. Nationally known artists such as Karl Knaths, Pietro Lazzari, Phillip Guston and Jack Tworkov taught there. Kaiden would teach there in the evenings and Alma Thomas was among those who studied with him.
In the mid-fifties, the art department of Catholic University had become important in the city. Kenneth Noland taught there. Anne Truitt studied there along with many other distinguished Washington artists, including David Driskell, who received his master’s degree there.
The Corcoran School of Art, extant since the nineteenth century, slowly became more progressive and by the mid-fifties, it, too, was attracting black students, Richard Dempsey taught there,
Another important development of the period was the modest Dupont Theatre Gallery in the lobby of the cinema. The director was the printer Kurt Wiener and its curatorial board included Alonzo Aden, Jacob Kainen, and Beatrice Rudes of the Institute of Contemporary Art. Porter, Wells, Jones and Dempsey showed there, as well as Alma Thomas and Gene Davis, who had his first solo show there in 1952.
Between 1940 and 1953, before the emergence of the Color School, modernism in Washington had its beginnings at the Howard Gallery, the G. Place, Whyte and Barnett-Aden Galleries, the Washington Workshop Center, the Institute of Contemporary Art, American University, Catholic University, the Phillips Gallery and the Corcoran School and Gallery. Black and white artists moved through all of these institutions. The G. Place and Whyte Galleries had shown that a bicultural approach to art could only broaden its overall range of expression. The Howard Gallery and the Barnett-Aden Gallery had dedicated themselves to the same ideas. In 1957 when the Jefferson Place was founded, involvement by Afro-American artists was a realistic expectation. But they were not anticipated within the traditions of Howard or Barnett-Aden or even with Whyte or the G. Place Gallery for time had shifted the impetus of art toward the newly developed spirit of the Color School. Hence, it took an Afro-American outside the sphere of Howard and Barnett—Aden to be identified with the new possibilities of the Color School. This did not happen until the mid—sixties (in spite of the work of Alma Thomas) and the artist was, of course, Sam Gilliam.
The fundamental difference between Gilliam and many other Afro- Americans of his time in Washington is that he was the first important black to focus his ideas on form rather than content, which was in consonance with the work of the Color School artists. Yet, if Gilliam was an anomaly, so too was the phenomenon of the Color School. The ideas were inspired from outside the city, with Clement Greenberg as the champion. In the profoundest sense, race was irrelevant to this. Gilliam’s being black was incidental. What was important was that his art was a national expansion of the first-generation Color School thought. The key to Gilliam’s early success was based on his application of structuralist methodology to the possibilities of color stains and cloth supports. The brilliance of Gilliam’s work lay in the premise of the inevitable extension of pigment. Louis explored veils and unfurls. Davis explored stains through the juxtaposition of stripes. Noland explored color through changing the geometric context of their shapes such as chevrons. Others—Downing, Reed and Mehring—explored aspects of Color in relation to the cloth ground of the flat surface. Gilliam freed flatness (the flatness that was the given condition of the other artists) from the rectangular picture plane and made the color stain and cloth support tangible objects beyond the limitations of pictorial surface. He thus extended color and painting into the arena of structures.
However inspired, consciously or otherwise, Gilliam’s art contained a dialectic which was a radical approach to contemporary art. His art was the result less of deliberate growth than a response to the moment (in this case the Color School). The draped canvases were perceived not as the originality of an artist exploring his own visual biography, but rather as an artist making objects in direct relationship to the timely art issues around him. This might well have been the reason for Gilliam’s singular success.
Indeed, many outstanding Afro-American artists had shown in Washington in the fifties, more than ten years before Gilliam’s first important works appeared. They included not only the Washingtonians mentioned before but also some very important national artists. Romare Bearden showed in Washington a number of times during the fifties, as did Merton Simpson, Jacob Lawrence and Hale Woodruff (all at the Howard Gallery and at Barnett—Aden). In 1958 the noted abstractionist, Norman Lewis, showed to much acclaim at both the Jefferson Place Gallery and the Barnett—Aden. A wonderful colorist and maker of lyrical atmospheric paintings, Lewis’s work achieved international attention, earning him awards in such distant institutions as the Venice Biennale. Yet, like the others, Lewis left no lasting mark in Washington because his work was outside the most burning issue of the avant—garde in the city: color field painting.
There were, of course, other Afro-American abstractionists to emerge in Washington in the sixties. These would include artist/musician Lloyd McNeill who returned to teach at Howard in 1967 and to work with Topper Carew’s The New Thing. In 1967 McNeill made a major wall sculpture for the Washington Gallery of Modern Art. Later he teamed with Lou Stovall to develop a major printmaking facility. Stovall’s importance was not only in his own work but in the meticulous craftsmanship of the printing with other artists. Indeed he inspired and established a foundation for printmaking in the city.
The work of Carroll Sockwell, a former student of Lois Jones and of the Corcoran School of Art was more congenial to the then dominant school of color field painting. He had briefly become curator of the Barnett-Aden Gallery in 1965-66. By the late sixties Sockwell was showing prominently in the city. He organized shows with such people as Walter Hopps and Gregory Battcock and later was included by Hopps in major traveling shows of “Art in Washington.” Other black artists such as David Stephens also showed at the Corcoran and at the Smithsonian Institution during that time.
Even more in harmony with the directions of Washington art was Alma Thomas. She was the first Howard art student and graduate, had painted quietly throughout most of her life and had taught full—time in the Washington Public School system. This was not an unusual pattern for black women of her generation and it was not until she retired from teaching in 1960 that she began to devote herself full time to painting. In that year she held a solo exhibition at the Dupont Theatre Gallery and had several in the next few years in the city, including the Howard Gallery in 1966 and 1967, the Henri Gallery (which became her Washington dealer) in 1966, the Margaret Dickey Gallery in 1967 and the Franz Bader Gallery in 1969. Although Thomas did not Spring to national prominence until the 1970s, her work of the 1960s can be considered of significance within the city of Washington, DC. Like Gilliam’s, the work of Thomas has been discussed by many others and needs no in—depth analysis here. Like Gilliam, Thomas’s success was related to the issues of the Washington Color School. The art of both was, therefore, a prominent factor of second generation “Color School,” although neither was a part of a “movement” as such.
Interestingly, neither Gilliam nor Thomas had any meaningful influence on the art of Washington in the sixties. This phenomenon of prominence without spreading influence seemed quite typical of the art in Washington then. The reputations of most of the important Washington artists then were made outside the city. This was true of the original Color School artists and the advocacy of Clement Greenberg and to a lesser extent of Gerald Nordland, director of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, and Andrew Hudson, who came from Canada in 1965 to write for The Washington Post.
The Washington Color School did not develop as a product of Washington, but in spite of it. For example, as late as 1965 in a Washington Star review of an exhibition of the Institute of Contemporary Art, the perceptive and witty Frank Getlein was still underestimating the importance of the Color School. “The true significance of the whole movement,” Getlein wrote, “is two-fold: a classic demonstration of the mass auto—hypnosis undertaken by the artists and their admirers in an effort to make something out of next to nothing, and a comic example of what happens when the convincing classroom exercises of a great teacher Josef Albers are wrenched out of the school into the channels of trade.” For the student of fashion, color painting is of interest as a candidate which never quite made it, a kind of Harold Stassen in the world of art couture.”
If the first generation of Color School “never quite made it” in Washington, the second generation Color School was fragmented and attached to its predecessors through dialectic structuring of others outside the city or from exhibitions held elsewhere. Walter Hopps and Reneto Danese of the Corcoran organized traveling exhibitions that gained respect in other places. Though of equal quality, the art differed widely in focus. If Walter Hopps’s “Gilliam/Krebs/McGowin” show of 1969 remains the most memorable of its genre, it is because it was the most homogeneous and showed three aspects of art that related to the Color School focus. Andrew Hudson’s “Washington Artists 1950—1970,” for the Edmonton Art Gallery in Canada, showed the difficulty of stretching a continuum (Color School) over 20 years. Though Gilliam and Krebs’s work might have related to that of Davis—Downing—Mehring—Noland, Michael Clark and Jennie Lea Knight’s art did not, regardless of its high quality. Even less homogeneous was “Washington Art,” held at the Columbia Museum in 1971. The show included Gilliam, Krebs, McGowin and Sockwell, all of whose work had commonality perhaps (although that was stretching it with McGowin); but William Christenberry and Brockie Stevenson shared no common ground. This is not, however, a criticism of art in Washington, but rather a focus on its nature, which is diverse and lacking homogeneity.
The resulting tendency toward eclecticism in Washington art reflected in its artists and in its galleries probably has to do with the transient nature of the city and shows that art in Washington has tended to develop less from tradition, culture or ethnicity than it has in other American areas. In Washington it seems to have developed traditionally from a free association of ideas and the dynamics of personalities. This is a healthy condition because it facilitates originality, yet it takes its toll in the atrophy of earlier ideas. The history of art in the city, as one artist puts it, tends to be “a poker game with a bunch of folded hands.”
Consequently, if neither Gilliam nor Thomas, two of the most important artists of the sixties in Washington, generated no wider influence, the problem was less theirs than the nature of the city. Indeed another very fine Afro-American artist, John Robinson, has lived and worked in the city for years. He, too, showed at Howard, Barnett—Aden and any number of other fine institutions of the city. He never attained the wider fame of Gilliam or Thomas, but as Walter Hopps told me, “He is one of the two or three first realist painters in the modern history of the City.” Yet, Robinson’s work has not influenced any other artist or direction in the city. So the art traditions that black artists were to maintain grew from sources other than prominent ones. Specifically, they grew from a re-emergence of the art values of the 1920s.
It is not unlikely that the sub-institutional art groups in the city ever so slowly and unobservedly rekindled the spirit of this tradition that had faded since the early fifties. As was common in America, by the late sixties neighborhood black art groups emerged all over Washington, mixing media of art, music and poetry with politics and rhetoric in search of a new black self—image and in defiance of the dominate white art structure. The neighborhood art centers that Mayor Walter Washington established facilitated this aim; so did the obscure and tiny private groups and storefront shops that appeared and disappeared like fireflies in the night. Above these loomed an important art center: The New Thing and Architecture Center. It came to embody the spirit of many splinter groups and was perhaps the catalyst through which the ideas of the past were rejuvenated into the ideas of the future.
In 1967 Collin “Topper” Carew (so called because of his huge Afro hair style) opened what seemed to be another of the endless black—centered storefronts at 1810 Florida Avenue, NW. But Topper was much more than the hip-talking street cat that his image projected. He had studied architecture at Howard. He also had a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a doctorate in communications from Union Graduate School, an experimental arm of Antioch College. He had had firsthand experience with neighborhood architecture and design possibilities when he lived and worked in the Highlands Dwelling public housing project in the Anacostia section of the city.
Carew’s ideas on design at The New Thing were gathered from residents and were the basis for rehabilitation and extension of the old building on 18th Street near Columbia Road that was to be the structural base for The New Thing. Carew hoped to perform an important service by bringing art to the people who never went to “downtown” galleries. The New Thing provided a place where neighborhood children could paint and display their paintings. Adults met there for discussions with artists and architects. “We want people to look at their surroundings and see how they are affected by them and what they can do to change them,” Carew said. “A knowledge of art and architecture can give people courage and ability to reconstruct their neighborhood.”
He was adept at fundraising and competed for several grants with Peggy Cooper who was then organizing Workshop for Careers. Carew’s success came partially from his ability to deal in the streets just as easily as he could move among the liberal white set. He would emulate H. Rapp Brown and he knew Stokely Carmichael, but he was also a friend of Ethel Kennedy and of Clifford Alexander. The New Thing received private funds as well as public grants. Carew was a creative administrator and a “very tangible broker of hundreds of thousands of dollars to come into this town for artists. He turned a lot of people on,” said James Gibson, who was the executive associate of the Potomac Institute. “He was a bridge between black and white,” said Gibson. “The black community at that time . . . was separatist in its leanings. He was always bicultural and biracial and for that he was never well liked.” Despite a lot of claims of success and energy in the Adams—Morgan neighborhood, The New Thing ended in 1973, following Carew’s abrupt departure during the previous year to find new challenges in Boston. “I was also aware that the foundation world was no longer interested in the black community. Grants were drying up and money was hard to get. I also had postponed taking a fellowship at M.l.T.”
Carew’s The New Thing inspired Afro—Americans in the city to be concerned with the possibility of harnessing the legacy of their ancestry to their unique experiences of the present. However, it was not alone in doing so, for the concurrent activities of neighborhood art groups and street activities provided impetus for the development of several artists. Two such were Lloyd McNeill and Luther (“Lou”) Stovall. Both had studied art at Howard University in the early sixties and had exchanged ideas over the years both with each other and with other artists. “We were picked from part of a crowd,” said Stovall “any number of others could have been picked for recognition in those days.” The catalyst for their activities was Walter Hopps, who was then doing research at the Institute for Policy Studies at Dupont Circle. Hopps knew many artists and visited many studios. Artists trusted him and liked him. His friends were black as well as white, rich as well as poor. Lloyd McNeill, who also taught at The New Thing, would play the flute on a park bench in Dupont Circle in the afternoons. Hopps was one of the many who would listen. “In those days everyone in the arts passed through Dupont Circle,” said Stovall. Hopps got to know McNeill and Visited his studio. Hopps soon made a proposal to the Washington Gallery of Modern Art (also near Dupont Circle) about how to energize the city with art. He proposed a show by Lloyd McNeill that took place in 1967 and attracted to the gallery a large group of people—including new patrons as well as people off the street—and signalled a new era of art in Washington. McNeill showed paintings and prints. He invited friends such as Leo Robinson, David Stephens and Lou Stovall to show with him. Robinson and Stephens had been students in the Howard University Art Department. Stephens’s contribution to the exhibition was to install silkscreen prints over an entire wall. Stovall did artistic constructions and also changed the space in the gallery. There were other exhibitors who worked with sound and light effects and McNeill also played music. This was the era of art inspired by the “people” and indeed it helped energize the Washington Gallery of Modern Art for the remaining two years of its existence.
Every Tuesday night there was a regular concert of musicians at The New Thing. Two days before, Stovall and McNeill would be joined by friends to hand-circulate posters advertising the event. This they did in the Dupont Circle and Adams-Morgan areas. They made the posters at the Botkin Sign and Display Shop in Silver Spring where Stovall worked. “That was Mr. Botkin’s [expressed] contribution ‘to the people’,” said Stovall. For three years Botkin let his shop and materials be used to silkscreen the posters. (The New Thing paid for the paper). Some forty to fifty color posters with print and art imagery were made and many became collectors’ items. Walter Hopps called this a major development in the art of the poster in America. In I969 following an aborted commission by Arena Stage, Stovall and McNeill used the opportunity to show many of these posters at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art facility. The Gallery was defunct by then and had been incorporated into the Corcoran Gallery of Art as “Corcoran-Dupont Circle.” The Stovall-McNeill show was done in conjunction with an exhibition on jazz from the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum. The newly combined show was called “Jazz and Art.” It featured posters of many jazz festivals, clubs, various concerts and other performances including work at The New Thing as well as more personal posters by Stovall and McNeill. It received widespread attention and a very encouraging review in the Washington Post by Paul Richard.
The enormous success of the “Jazz and Art” exhibition led Walter Hopps to be convinced that a printmaking workshop could succeed on a highly professional scale in Washington. The exhibition had taken place in January, and in September of the same year (1969). Hopps, then director of the Corcoran, turned the Corcoran-Dupont Circle building over to Stovall for a workshop. Stovall had also received a $10,000 grant from Phillip Stern (who was also the major benefactor of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, which had been housed in the same building). Stovall made an agreement with Hopps and the Corcoran to provide staff and equipment and to keep the building open eighteen hours a day. The Corcoran agreed to pay the rent. Stovall also got an N.E.A. grant that helped assemble a competent staff of printmakers, including his wife Diana, Allan Appel, Neil Corpi, David Bronson and Lloyd McNeill. They soon began to print works of most of the major artists of the city. They also printed works by many other internationally prominent artists such as Liberman and Calder. Thus from the era of “street art” in Washington emerged two very important ideas: the poster as a low-cost way to disseminate timely ideas concurrent with art imagery and a high quality international print workshop competently run by Stovall, a master printer of silkscreen imagery.
Although ideas that emanated from the streets gained most Spectacular attention at that time, it was by no means the only new Afro-American thrust. The work of Carroll Greene, Jr, continued the tradition of scholarship developed by Locke and Porter. Greene wrote several articles on Afro-American art, including some historically important ones in the Art Gallery Magazine. In addition, he began to curate some important shows on the subject before the end of the sixties. Moving from New York to Washington, he became Curator of the Frederick Douglass Institute of Negro Arts and History, the American wing of the Museum of African Art.
It was Greene who first set Warren Robbins on the trail of works by 19th century Afro-American artists, which eventually led to the assembly of the most extensive such collection in existence. Greene began it all, initially persuading the officers of Delta Sigma Theta, a national Negro public service Sorority, to purchase and donate the important Edmonia Lewis marble statue of Hagar to the Frederick Douglass Institute. He later told Robbins of the availability of the studio collection of Henry C. Tanner, placed on sale by Tanner’s son Jesse at the Tanner’s dealer, Grand Central Galleries in New York. Robbins, with the help of patrons principally including his brother Norman, acquired some 55 of the 200 Tanner works for the Institute/Museum. These works formed the nucleus of a Tanner exhibition that Robbins organized at the National Collection of Fine Arts (Smithsonian) with the assistance of Greene and Robert Simmons and with the support of its then director David Scott and Scott’s special consultant Adelyn Breeskin. The exhibition then travelled under the joint auspices of the Douglass Institute and the Smithsonian to major museums in Cleveland, San Antonio, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Philadelphia as well as Brandeis University in Boston. Widespread press attention was generated from the show and a US. postage stamp was issued commemorating Tanner, the first Afro— American artist so honored.
Robbins, as a result of Greene’s original influence and advice (and with the zealous efforts of a young Providence, Rhode Island, art dealer, Edward Schein, who was in turn advised by David Driskell) ultimately assembled some 220 works by Edward Mitchell Bannister, Robert S. Duncanson and Joshua Johnston, in addition to those by Lewis and Tanner. It was Robbins’s and Greene’s objective that works of 19th century Afro- American artists should exist in one collection in order to make this contribution to the history of American art very evident. Thus in a comprehensive way the African Museum strengthened the many aspects of the Afro-American and African ancestral presence of art in America.
With the rekindled spirits of the legacy of the ancestral arts, Afro— American artists in Washington had returned to the general philosophic focus of Alain Locke—some consciously so, others more swayed by the atmosphere of the times which served to give verity to arguments that coincided with those of Locke. Among the prominent institutions that developed along the lines of this philosophy was the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, which was founded in 1967. Its dynamic director, John Kinnard, was to mold its direction in the seventies (later than the scope of this essay).
As stated, some outstanding Afro-American artists with national and international reputations had lived and worked in Washington but had gotten little more than gratuitous acknowledgment from the city’s major institutions of art in the late fifties and sixties. This group included the printmaker, lames Wells, who had come to teach at Howard in the thirties and had developed a distinguished body of work and a long list of exhibitions. It included Richard Dempsey, who had moved to the city from California in 1942. Dempsey traveled widely, especially to the Caribbean, and exhibited extensively over the years, winning awards at the Corcoran Annual exhibition more than once and showing with Franz Bader from the fifties onward. Yet his art did not become “in” with the avant-garde of the city. This was also true of Elizabeth Catlett, who had studied at Howard and was a native of Washington. She established a grand reputation outside the city. She later moved to Mexico where she was acknowledged as one of the important sculptors of the century. However, ignorance of her work and stature has never Changed in Washington. Lois Jones, too, came to Howard from Boston to teach art in the thirties. She exhibited widely and received many awards in the city and without; yet her work never became established with the avant-garde of the late fifties and sixties.
The direction of the Howard Art Department after the death of James Porter was compatible with the mood of many black artists across the country. The emphasis was to create art that reflected the ancestral arts of Africa and the sociopolitical condition of the black man in the contemporary world. Indeed even before Porter’s death, and with the appointment of California sculptor Ed Love in 1968, the department had begun to Change more toward a socially conscious art.
All this, of course, seemed consistent with the thinking of Alain Locke. While it cannot be said that Locke directly influenced the ideas of black artists in 1971, nor that Howard’s choice of direction was any more than a positive response to the times, it is certain that the University must have recognized that its newly chosen direction was familiar to some elements of its tradition.
In 1970 Howard University appointed Jeff Donaldson as chairman of the Art Department. Donaldson had recently earned a PhD. in African art at Northwestern University. His was the first such degree conferred anywhere, since African art scholars until then had earned degrees in history or anthropology. Donaldson, however, was also a painter and, very importantly, a founding member of Cobra, a visual arts idea that he and several others had developed in Chicago in 1967.
Cobra stood for Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists. That name was soon changed to Afri-Cobra, which meant African Commune for Bad Relevant Artists.
Afri-Cobra wanted to make images rooted in the common experience of black Americans, with special attention to how these images might affect socio—political values. Further goals of Afri-Cobra included the production of these images in ways that were culturally and economically accessible to a wider public. Hence, many of the images were inexpensive prints and posters of political ideas designed with dogmatic slogans. That Afri-Cobra developed posters concurrent with the Washington Poster movement of Stovall and McNeill was hardly more than a coincidence. Afri-Cobra’s ideas were much more openly political and called for black people to recognize their own power. No doubt Donaldson was attracted to Howard because of the university’s history and the potential for social change. The presence of SNlC and Stokely Carmichael at Howard and in the city must also have provided further encouragement. However, Afri-Cobra did not collaborate with the Stovall-McNeill group since their respective arts were about different issues.
Among the members of Afri-Cobra were Barbara Jones, Hogu, Napoleon, Henderson, Nelson Stevens, Gerald Williams, and Wadsworth Jarrell. The group evolved a membership based on unanimous vote. It saw its ideas in philosophic unison and played down individual authorship as the necessary sacrifice for the advancement of a common cause. When Donaldson became chairman at Howard, he appointed Jarrell to the faculty. Other members of Afri-Cobra later served as guest artists and lecturers. Frank Smith came from Chicago to join the Howard faculty. Ed Sorell Adawale was another member who came to teach at Howard.
In the course of time Afri-Cobra was to become well known throughout the country and abroad for its many exhibitions and lectures. The new climate at Howard attracted other artists to Washington. Another painter, educator and friend of Afri-Cobra, Murray DePillars, became dean of the College of Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Afri-Cobran influences also made themselves felt at the University of the District of Columbia.
It is interesting to compare Afri-Cobran ideas with those of Alain Locke. Afri-Cobra was more of a people’s art, concerned with socioeconomic issues that were less central in Locke’s time. Locke sought to develop an African ancestral consciousness for the cultivation of an assumed black intellectual elite. Afri-Cobra denounced all elitism, believing that such tendencies represented identification with the dominant European-American culture in ways that inevitably compromised African-American goals. Afri-Cobra postulated that the mostbauthentic African continuum in America was founded among the poor and informally educated because it was they who, however unwittingly, had been able to maintain a greater part of their African values.
The era of Afri-Cobra represented the acknowledged cooling of relationships between black artists at Howard and the potential inter-racial community that had been prepared by Herring and Porter. It is reasonable to interpret this situation in two ways. On the one hand, Afri-Cobra’s position seemed hostile and racist. On the other hand, it can be argued that at a specific time in history, separatism is the unavoidable prerequisite of a political art. The second proposition reflects a condition similar to Locke’s theme. Like the ideas advocated by Locke, Afri-Cobra’s position demonstrated that a black structural art—one reflecting African-American values—is by definition antithetic to the mainstream of white American assumptions about the nature of art and leads to inevitable social conflict.
Afri-Cobra reflected some revolutionary principles in American art for which no wider recognition was achieved. Afri-Cobra used stereotypical imagery as a basis for a broad, popular art. In a sense this was a black counterpart to Pop Art, which had come a few years before it. However, whereas Pop Art satirized melodrama, Afri—Cobra made poignant expression from symbols of sociopolitical discontent. The more commonly accepted notion of the social activist art of recent times developed in part from the example of black art ideas such as Afri-Cobra. Secondly, the tactic of artists exposing their causes through their intimidatingly large memberships and supporting rhetoric as used by some groups of women artists, was learned in large part from black artist groups such as Afri-Cobra. In fact, if one substitutes the word “black” for women in a lot of what was said and written later in the seventies, one sees a definite commonality between the strategies of both groups. Thirdly, the notion of bending the creative individualism of the artist in order to form a common visual ideology (the intention of so many twentieth century ideas from Cubism, Constructivism, Fauvism, Futurism, German Expressionism to Dada and Surrealism), was reestablished in principle by Afri-Cobra. A fourth idea was the making of political art at the sacrifice of private concerns. This idea focused on public subjects rather than personal identification as the basis for making art. This, too, has become an accepted factor in recent American art. A comparison between the potential effectiveness of Afri-Cobra and similar ideas in Europe at the time (especially the French student poster movement, the socialist ideas of philosopher Herbert Marcuse and the Dutch poster movement also called Cobra) further shows the important and far—reaching implications of Afri-Cobra on an international scale.
- Washington Daily News, Saturday, November 4, 1933.
- Born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1934.
- The Potomac Cooperative actually launched the Workshop in 1940 and worked for the founding of Arena Stage. Berkowitz, his wife (the poet lda Fox) and Helmut Kern planned activities of the Workshop. Berkowitz became its director and it officially opened in 1947. The Potomac Cooperative and Berkowitz produced a listener—owned radio station, W.C.F.M., which lasted four years. See Paul Richard, Washington Post, March 2, 1969, p. (3-2, and Barbara Rose, “The Vincent Melzac Collection,” Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1971, p. 21
The workshop was located in the McLean Mansion on Massachusetts Avenue just north of Dupont Circle. Kainen remembers being paid $8.00 per night to teach there. Berkowitz taught at Western High School by day.
- See Terry Downs, Washington Post, March 20, 1983, p. L 1-5.
- The Institute was located at 1751 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Later it was briefly housed in the Corcoran before it closed in 1952.
- From an Institute brochure.
- Bella Schwartz, “A Memoir of the 508 in Washington,” Washington Art News, Vol. 2, No. 2, March 1975.
- By the early 505 the Whyte Gallery and Bookstore had been fully taken over by its director Franz Bader and became the Franz Bader Gallery. Bader was to continue the tradition and expand on it immediately. Over the years his gallery has shown an impressive number of black and white Washington artists.
- The Jefferson Place Gallery opened in October of 1957. See: Leslie Judd Portner, Washington Post and Times Herald, p. E7, October 13, 1957.
The Gallery was located at 1216 Connecticut Avenue, NW, just above M Street. It was under the direction of Alice Denny, who was also exclusive sales agent in DC. for ten artists (Robert Gates, Mary Orwen, Helen McKinsey, Joe Summerlord, Lothar Brabansky, William Caliee, Colin Greenly, Kenneth Noland, George Bayliss and Shelby Shackleiord). The Jefferson Place began under the heavy influence of American University. Later the Gallery would be directed by Nesta Dorrance. It was moved to 2144 P Street, NW, in 1965.
- In 1953 Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Leon Berkowitz saw Helen Frankenthaler’s painting “Mountains at Sea (1952),” on a Saturday morning visit to her studio. They were inspired, and upon their return to Washington revolutionized their thinking about painting and pioneered a direction in which they investigated the possibilities of color interaction with the cloth support of painting. The original group of “color” painters included Louis, Noland, Davis, Mehring, Downing, and Paul Reed. However, the term “Color School” arose in 1965 when Gerald Nordland referred to “Washington Color Painters” in his catalog essay for a major travelling exhibition of works including ones by Davis, Downing, Louis, Mehring, Noland and Paul‘Reed.
- In 1962 The Washington Gallery of Modern Art was founded at 21st Street, NW, just below Massachusetts Avenue. It was to be the museum counterpart to the Jefferson Place Gallery and for several years the two institutions wrestled with a number of ideological goals. Adelyn Breeskin oi the Baltimore Museum was appointed to direct the W.G.M.A., with Alice Denny her assitant. Breeskin argued for establishment of a permanent collection for the gallery and a collection of late 19th and early 20th century art was developed. Charles Millard became the W.G.M.A.’s second director. Gerlad Nordland was the third. There were many distinguished exhibitions there. Some of the most important Washington artists including Kainen, Perlmutter and McGowin showed there before it closed in 1967.
- Frank Getlein. Washington Star, February 7, 1965.
- See: Washington Post, 1-23-67, “Social Scene.”
- It received $100,000 from the National Endowment later in 1972 and 1973.
- See: Washington Post, 1-23—67, “Social Scene.”
- See: Holly West’s article in Washington Post, 9-25-75.
- Carroll Greene, Jr. “Afro-American Art,” Art Gallery Magazine, Vol. X1. No. 7, April, 1968 and April 1970.
- After the Museum of African Art (through Congressional legislation) became a bureau of the Smithsonian in 1979, this entire collection was transferred to the National Museum of American Art. Drawn from it were 42 of the 49 works in the exhibition “Sharing Traditions, Five Black Artists in Nineteenth Century America.”
CHAPTER IV :
PRESENCE : A WIDER WORLD VIEW
As stated in chapter one, the Afro-American presence in Washington art went largely without wider recognition. The Howard Art Gallery and the Barnett-Aden were not among the more prominent galleries in the country; yet they represented a wider scope of modernist thinking than some of the more important galleries and museums. In a modest way Howard and Barnett-Aden sought to give attention not only to issues affecting black and white America but to other parts of the world as well, such as Asia, South America, Africa, Central America and the West Indies. The galleries searched out divergent contemporary issues in the belief that theirs was a journey of discovery. They did not try to anticipate the future of modernism or reduce its complexities to common denominators, as so many other art institutions did. In retrospect, their modest activities contained ingredients that we have lately come to recognize as the catalytic environment of modern American Art: an environment that encourages alternative thinking in unpredictable directions. They were supported in this endeavor by their many white colleagues who joined them in a spirit of open investigation. Later groups such as The New Thing and Afri-Cobra did not emerge in the same spirit of openness, but nevertheless moved in directions based on ideas that earlier Afro-American institutions had facilitated. Other groups, such as Stovall’s print workshop, openly courted an interracial environment and confidently promoted a truly biracial American spirit.
These various achievements must be understood in relation to several factors. It cannot be overemphasized that whites played major roles in the development of Afro-American institutions in Washington. The wonderful thing about the period was that Afro-American achievements in art largely resulted from an interracial environment that probably existed nowhere else in the country. In what was essentially a segregated society, artists such as Jacob Kainen, lack Perlmutter, Morris Louis, Gene Davis and Herman Maril provided examples of the very best of good will of whites toward blacks. The tireless sympathy and support of gallery dealer Franz Bader was enormously encouraging to black artists; and the humanitarian concern of someone of Duncan Phillips’s stature was a profound asset. The selfless work of Warren Robbins—fighting the resistance of both blacks and whites—in his successful effort to provide the first African Art Museum in America is indeed one of the glories of art in Washington; and the inspiring work of art personalities such as Leonard Stein and Walter Hopps was indispensable.
As early as 1940 the Phillips Gallery began to acquire work by black artists such as Jacob Lawrence and Horace Pippin. By the mid—sixties, the Corcoran had shown Romare Bearden and would soon include Gilliam, Stephens, Sockwell, Norman Lewis and others in important exhibitions. The Watkins Art Gallery of American University had begun to show important black artists in the late 19405. From the 1920s, many of the pioneering ventures—such as the early contemporary African art shows—were supported with the funds and tireless work of the Harmon Foundation. In reality, the Afro-American presence in Washington’s art world was largely an interracial experience. It grew because of a white community of artists of unusual goodwill and the presence of some brilliant black thinkers in the arts who took advantage of this unusual situation.
There is no reason to claim that Afro-Americans in Washington (or anywhere else in the country, probably) developed their own contemporary “art.” After all, painting and sculpture, as we know them, are European ideas: the picture on the wall as an end in itself is not a basic African idea; neither the sculpture on a pedestal nor the museum as a place to contemplate passive objects has any relationship to the African experience. Most art ideas by Afro-Americans (at least during the period under discussion) were modeled after a European context of “looking” at art. Africans performed art mostly in ritual and ceremony. No Afro-American art of this period (at least not in Washington) followed that direction. Indeed, Surrealist spiritual tendencies and Kaprow “Happenings” came closer toward non—Western forms of presentation than did the works of Afro-Americans in the city. If Alain Locke’s call for Afro-American artists to embrace principles of the ancestral arts was heeded, it was done so more in terms of the subject matter of art than through any novel form of presentation. Actually, Afro-American artists and institutions in Washington were rather conservative in this respect. Though Herring, Aden and Porter were brilliant men, they were also mainstream Americans. They fought to establish the credibility of black artists but never abandoned the structure of European thought. The idea of waking up in deepest Africa surrounded by ancestors would have mortified Aden. One still hears his disdainful: “We were never slaves!” Porter studied things African but never sought to transform his ideas into Africanness. Rather, he accepted European culture as his domain and sought to “explain” Africa within the European context. Porter elaborated Africanness with footnotes and made it more comprehensible to the American art establishment. Alma Thomas got her ideas from far afield and never thought that black people appreciated her work, which was largely true. White institutions in the city, such as the Franz Bader Gallery, and artist friends Kainen, Noland, Davis and Perlmutter encouraged her talent more than blacks did.
Neither did blacks particularly appreciate Gilliam at the beginning. He was supported by the Adams Morgan and the Jefferson Place Galleries and by art personalities such as Alice Denny and Walter Hopps before he was significantly acknowledged by blacks. To many blacks his art was a kind of hype, another white man’s game that a slick—moving “brother” had learned to hustle. There were no black collectors either. If there was a small group of collectors around Howard and the Barnett-Aden in the earlier years it later disappeared.
Given the situation, how could there have been an important and original contribution by blacks to art in Washington? This is a paradox, but in the annals of twentieth century art it is no more unusual than any other. Originality in twentieth century art has often resulted in paradox; the genesis of much of this originality has often been the result of a fusion of complexities. Afro-American achievements in Washington’s art world occurred without common goals or plans. They were largely inspired by the idea of the African ancestral arts that Locke had developed, but no group of artists made this idea their specific agenda; and some, such as Herring and Porter, often refuted it. Yet, as in so much of the best of modern art, the subliminal seeds of ferment bore sprouts and flowered into results that could neither have been predicted nor controlled. Hence, Afro-Americans in Washington’s art scene did not all fit into the same script and any analysis of the relative merits of their work must be retrospective, since it is to be found in aesthetic analysis rather than in consistency of the paths that the artists followed.
Alain Locke’s call for black American artists to look to the ancestral arts set in motion a plethora of issues and is the key to an analysis of much of what followed. It is only in relation to the African ancestral arts and the black American experience that art by blacks (during the period of discussion) was different in nature from that of any other American group.
From Locke’s point of View any art that followed the character of existing art could only be a footnote to its predecessor. Hence an Afro-American art could not exist so long as black artists followed European-American imagery. Locke argued that if Afro-Americans followed European-American imagery, their art would be inferior. Locke’s ideas were clear enough; however, the issue was complicated by the fact that during this century Europeans had already been influenced by other cultures, including the African, in very significant ways. Obviously, Cubism took a lot from African art, as did Fauvism, German Expressionism, Surrealism and any number of European ideas. How, then, could there exist an original Afro— American art based upon the African ancestral arts?
Locke obviously knew African art and modern European art as well as anyone else of his day, as is evident in his writing and research. Therefore he looked at the original dimensions of the African ancestral arts in ways other than those of the Europeans and in ways that he thought could be best explored by black artists. Locke felt that Europeans defined the form of African art to fit their own needs. For example, William Fagg, the eminent British scholar of African art and culture described African sculpture as “cubist.” Locke felt that the same object held the potential for a different formal analysis by different people—in this case, black people. He felt that People analyzed the formal components of objects in relation to their own experiences, which in turn conditioned their goals. His own experience as a black critic led him to believe (from the common experience he shared with other blacks) that an indigenous and original dimension of African art could emerge from a singular interpretation of African forms by contemporary black artists.
Yet it must have been obvious to a man of Locke’s extraordinary perception that the resulting Afro-American art of his day did not always appear to be in harmony with his perceptions: art by many Afro-Americans, even when consciously influenced by African art, still was little more than variations upon European art, such as Cubism. The underlying principle of Locke’s argument could not therefore have been based on formal analysis. Instead it was based on interpretation of content. His Africanness was more a way of thinking differently about art objects than about discovering new forms.
This principle in art tends toward a self-consciously twentieth century idiom; certainly it is not new. It has been prevalent in music, for example, where the structure of a sonata might remain the same although its artistic meaning might be subject to different interpretations. It has also been common in the theatre where an actor might change the entire meaning of an idea through interpretation and inflection, even though the words remain the same.
Locke would have admired Augusta Savage, whose sculpture many people thought reflected German Expressionism. Elizabeth Catlett was another prominent artist of Locke’s time who was commonly thought to have been essentially influenced by Cubism. People focused on the form of the work of Savage and Catlett, forgetting that their own interpretation of form was culturally preconditioned or assuming that theirs was the only viable cultural precondition. Locke’s art criticism assumed that culture (or the ethno— social conditioning of ideas) was a prerequisite to the interpretation of form and indispensable to its analysis. Hence the conclusion to be drawn from Locke’s assumption is that culture plus form equals art. Thus Locke knew many years earlier (as noted in the New Art Examiner in 1979) that we have reached a juncture in modern civilization where the same Visual art object can be imbued with different associations resulting from different cultural perspectives.
This point is consistent with the thinking of some recent aestheticians, the most prominent of whom is Nelson Goodman. In his book, Languages of Art, Goodman argues that every culture evolves a vocabulary of visual associations (iconography) that it uses to define objects. He further argues that in order for a work of art to become universal (having the same meaning to many cultures), the vocabulary of its native culture must be explained (through education) to other cultures. The work of art, therefore, has no force beyond what has been invested in it by one or more cultures. This idea is also consistent with the thinking of many ancient African peoples who buried works of art after the ceremonial use because the art was thought to have potency only in relation to its ceremonial interpretation.
Western history further provides abundant evidence of the truth of the Principle that artistic form attains significance in relation to cultural interpretation. For example, the ancient Greeks knew Egyptian art well but did not glorify its artifacts as objects of beauty because Egyptian ideas were not central to a Greek hierarchy of visual imagery. Many Spanish conquistadors were sensitive to European art but destroyed pre-Columbian art because the objects’ formal beauty was not enough to counteract the cultural animosity that they aroused. The French knew African art for centuries but did not consider it to be important until they themselves had changed culturally and were willing to embrace a redefinition of the elements of African form in sculpture.
Thus cubism was not a result of discovery of new (African) art but a reinterpretation of familiar objects. In this century a urinal did not become a work of art until Marcel Duchamp changed the context and interpretation of that most common object. Naturally and emphatically, not every urinal can be art, only the one Duchamp “used.” The emotional reaction is not in response to the object’s formal qualities but to its presence in an unusual context. Similarly, a Vermeer painting has emotional power unless it is exposed as a forgery. Someone’s urinal or fake Vermeer might be accurate facsimiles but lose their potency, once exposed, because their artistic force is derived from a cultural insistence on authenticity and not from the intrinsic power of the object outside its cultural context.
Thus Alain Locke’s single most important contribution was his assumption of the principle that cultural focus is preliminary to appreciation of the formal structure of objects. It is within this principle that the significance of an Afro—American presence in Washington’s art of the period is to be found. Through Locke’s inspiration, many Afro-American artists explored the depth of the ancestral arts and the black American experience since slavery. Locke’s writing and thinking led to elaboration and exploration by such artists as Porter, Herring, Bearden, Driskell and Donaldson, each in very different ways and with varying profundity. The ideas of Locke made it clear to Afro—American artists that the interpretations of form are just as important as the structure of the object itself and that “quality” is in relation to the criteria of a culture. This is why a significant number of black artists of the period also wrote extensively on art. They recognized that they had to champion black ideas in art because the art had come from a cultural perspective that had not yet been examined in written art history. James Porter, a fine painter with a national reputation, devoted most of his life’s work to writing about Afro-American art history. Romare Bearden visited Washington frequently and was impressed with Locke, Herring, and Aden. Porter has also done a great deal of writing over the years. David Driskell, a student of Herring and Porter, later wrote a major book and many articles on Afro-American art while maintaining a career as an artist. Jeff Donaldson, artist and art advocate, earned a PhD. in African art and has written extensively on the subject, firmly believing in the ultimate virtue of interpretation.
The Afro-American artists of the period explored a wide range of ideas that have been subject to interpretation by Afro-American thinkers. Augusta Savage explored how sculptural form developed in relation to the rhythmic surges of the Negro spirituals. Her “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is interpreted through the musical and sociological conditions of the spirituals. Elizabeth Catlett’s sculpture is assumed to reflect cubist forms but black thinkers feel that her work makes more sense when interpreted in relation to the restless turmoil of oppressed black people. Horace Pippin was not merely a primitive but, as some believe, an artist who developed a two—dimensional schema that has its origins in ancient black Egyptian imagery, as is also true of the two—dimensional paintings of Aaron Douglass.
Locke wrote about Afro-American and African ancestral imagery and Langston Hughes glorified it in poetry. Later William H. Johnson abandoned his European painting style in the manner of Oscar Kokoshka and, like Douglass and Pippin before him, developed a two—dimensional schema that related to Egypt and to the folklore linkage between ancient Africa and Black America. Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden were also influenced by African patterns. Earlier, Archibald Motley had explored the urban black American experience in a very profound way with ideas that mirrored the interpretive insights of Countee Cullen and Claude McKay, among others.
The emergence of abstract art on the American scene influenced many Afro-American artists as much as did the ancestral arts. Artists such as Hale Woodruff, Merton Simpson, Mildred Thompson and David Driskell successfully put African patterns and gestures into an abstract expressionist arena. Alma Thomas’s importance was more in relation to the Washington Color School but black thinkers came to recognize other subliminal aspects of her work. These included an excessive sense of patterning, well before “pattern painting.” There is also what was interpreted as a pronounced African sensibility in terms of her characteristic zig—zag schema and “bands” of form that echo African fabric design. If we consider Thomas entirely in relation to the Washington Color School we lose a significant dimension of her work.
Similarly, the ideas of Sam Gilliam were chiefly connected with the Color School and contemporary abstraction but they nevertheless reflected ideas of tie-dying, of black store front art, and black use of fabric and its relationship to African cloth imagery. The poster ideas of Lloyd McNeill and Lou Stovall were a direct result of trying to make art appropriate to black people; and of course the work of Afri-Cobra was intended as a way of directly communicating with the black sub-culture on the street.
The fact that so many of these Afro-American issues were interrelated with issues of other groups hardly seemed to have bothered the blacks. As was the case with those involved with the Howard and Barnett—Aden Galleries, black artists were not afraid to combine Afro-American images with European ones. They recognized that art was the result of the vitality of ideas rather than adherence to form. There was sometimes a conspicuous unevenness in the “look” of their exhibitions, particularly at the Barnett- Aden. It was not that their taste was uneven, but rather that their guiding principle was cultural, not formal.
It is a principle that could be taken as a rationale to justify almost anything in the name of art. This is true insofar as “anything” might be an acceptable value to any group of people. The history of art in our time substantiates this phenomenon. We are surrounded by an abundance of evidence that the “art” contained in an object is no more than the
importance that any cultural group places on it. Good art is what a culture says it is. Thus as Anne Truitt puts it, to be an important artist is largely “a matter of luck” since artists cannot control changes in cultural value. Some artists are fortunate to have the value of their work respected for centuries; others (in accordance with Andy Warhol’s contemporary notion of fame) only for minutes.
The Afri—Cobra artists seemed to work according to this conception. Their rationalization of the Washington art scene compelled attention to the fact that blacks had a value structure different from whites. In the tradition of Locke, they established that acceptance of ideology was preliminary to acceptance of art. As such, their ideas were no different in principle from those of the Futurists, Constructivists, or Surrealists.
Many black artists are thought to have worked with an excessive communal social consciousness in relation to the African ancestral arts. It has been said that too often they sacrificed individuality to a communal art, but this is more an impression than reality. The personalities were frequently in bitter conflict; their tastes varied widely as did their commitment to racial issues. Indeed they seemed to have achieved a wider range of art than existed elsewhere in the city. During that period the legacy of the Afro-American presence in art of this city was evident not only in how these artists explored Africanness but also in how they evolved a model through which a wider world view of art could be realized.
- Gaston Neal was among the most publicized black critics of Warren Robbins’s direction of the Museum of African Art in the late sixties. He was in his early thirties and had recently had some of his poems accepted by the then Leroi Jones for his anthology of black writing. Neal was the founder of the New School for Afro-American thought and he later founded the Black Workshop. Both were in Washington. Topper Carew also questioned whether the African Museum was as meaningful to the black community as it could be.
- In their book African Sculpture, William Fagg and Margaret Plass continually refer to African sculpture as “cubist.” They did so in a way that seemed to put the African works in a context of European art of the twentieth century.
- Keith Morrison, “Art Criticism: A Pan-African Point of View,” New Art Examiner, February, 1979, pp. 4—7.
- Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art, Indiana University Press, 1968
- Romare Bearden’s many articles include “The Negro Artist and Modern Art,” Opportunity, December 1934. The same article also appeared in the Journal of Negro Life at the same time. He wrote “Problems of the Negro Artist” in the October 1948 issue of Critique. He published “The Artist’s Imagination,” Pyramid Club Annual, May 1956; “Rectangular Structure in My Montage Paintings,” Leonardo, January, 1969; “The Artist and His Education,” Harvard Art Review, Spring, 1969. He co-authored with Harry Henderson Six Masters of Afro-American Art in 1972 and he has written or contributed to the catalogs of many exhibitions.
- David C. Driskell, Two Centuries of Black American Art, New York: Los Angeles County Museum and Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.
- Anne Truitt, Day Book, New York: Random House, 1982.
Atkinson, J. Edward and Driskell, David C. Black Dimension in Contemporary American Art. New York: New Ameri- can Library, 1971.
Bearden, Romare and Henderson, Harry. Six Black Masters ofAmerican Art. New York: Zenith Books, 1972.
Bontemps, Arna Alexander. Forever Free. Alexandria, Virginia: Stephenson Inc., 1981.
Cederholm, Theresa Dickason. Afro-American Artists: A Bibliographical Dictionary. Boston: Boston Public Library, 1973.
Dover, Cedric. American Negro Art. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1960.
Driskell, David C. TWO Centuries of Black American Art. New York: Los Angeles County Museum and Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.
Fagg, William and Plass, Margaret. African Sculpture. London: Studio Vista Limited, 1964.
Fax, Elton. 17 Black Artists. New York: Dodd Mead, 1971.
Fine, Elsa Honig. The Afro—American Artist. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc, 1973.
Goodman, Nelson. Languages of Art. Indiana University Press, 1968.
Higgins, Nathan. The Harlem Renaissance. New York: Oxford Press, 1971.
Hunter, Sam. American Art of the Twentieth Century. New York: Harry Abrams, 1972.
Locke, Alain. The Negro in Art, Washington, DC: Associates in Negro Folk Education, 1940.
Locke, Alain. The Negro Past and Present. Washington, DC: Associates in Negro Folk Education, 1936.
Locke, Alain. The New Negro. New York: Albert and Charles Boni Inc, 1925; Reprinted by Athenium and Arno Press, New York, 1968.
Porter, James A. American Negro Artists Looks at Africa. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1962.
Porter, James A. Images of Dignity, The Drawings of Charles White. Los Angeles, California: West Ritchie Press, 1961.
Porter, James A. Modern Negro Art. Reprint of 1943 edition by Dryden Press; New York: Arno Press, 1969.
Robbins, Warren. African Art in American Collections, New York: Praeger, 1966.
Truitt, Ann. Day Book. New York: Random House, 1982.
Wiener, Kurt. Washington Artists Today. Museum Press and Acropolis Books, 1967.
Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum “Afri~Cobra/Farafindugu.” Introduction by Adolphus Ealey. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 17, 1977.
Albany Institute of History of Art. “The Negro Comes of Age.” Introduction by Alain Locke. New York, 1945.
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and Smithsonian Institution Press. “The Barnett—Aden Collection.” Smithsonian, Washington, DC, 1974.
Baltimore Museum of Art. “Contemporary Negro Art.” Introduction by Alain Locke. 1939.
Bowdoin College. “Portrait of the Negro in American Painting.” Introduction by Sidney Kaplan and Marvin Sadik. 1964.
City University of New York. “The Evolution of Afro—American Artists 1850—1950.” New York, 1967.
Columbus Museum of Art. “Washington Art.“ Introduction by Gunther Stamm. Ohio, 1974.
Edmonton Art Gallery. “Ten Washington Artists: 1950-1970.” Introduction by Ralph Hudson. Alberta, Canada, 1970.
Evans-Tibbs Collection. “Six Washington Masters.” Introduction by Thurlow Tibbs. Washington, DC, 1983.
- Place Gallery. “New Names in American Art.” Washington, DC, 1939.
Exhibition of Productions by Negro Artists, Harmon Foundation. “The Negro Takes His Place in American Art.” New York, 1943.
Fredrick Douglass Institute of Negro Arts and History and the National Collection of Fine Arts. “The Art of Henry 0. Tanner.”Introduction by Carroll Greene Jr. Smithsonian, Washington, DC,1969.
Howard University Gallery of Art. “African Negro Art.” Introduction by William Hansberry. Washington, DC, 1953.
Howard University Gallery of Art. “Paintings, Prints 8r Drawings by Modern European Artists from the Collection of Warren M. Robbins.” Introduction by James A. Porter. 1962
Howard University Gallery of Art. “The Appreciation of American Negro Art.” Washington, DC, 1967.
Howard University Gallery of Art. “The Art of the American Negro.” Introduction by Alonzo Aden. Washington, DC, 1937.
Howard University Gallery of Art. “The Historical Background of African Art.” Washington, DC, 1953.
Howard University Gallery of Art. “Ten Afro—American Artists of the 19th Century.” Introduction by James A. Porter. Washington, DC, 1967.
Howard University Gallery of Art. “Three Artists of Philadelphia.” Introduction by Alonzo Aden. Washington, DC, 1940.
Museum of African Art. “African Art in Washington Collections.” Introduction by Warren Robbins. Washington, DC. 1972.
National Center for Afro-American Culture. “Lois Mailou Jones.” Boston, Massachusetts, 1982.
- C.L.A. Art Galleries. “The Negro in American Art: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Afro-American Art.” Introduction by lames A. Porter. California, 1966.
University of Massachusetts. “Afri—Cobra 111.” Introduction by Barbara Hogu. Amherst, 1975.
Ahlander, Leslie Judd. “Hard Edge Abstraction.” (on Carroll Sockwell), Washington Post, December 22, 1963.
Berryman, Florence. “Lois Iones Mob Victim.” Washington Star, May 21, 1944.
Canady, Iohn. “Somebody’s Doing Something Right.” (on Museum of African Art), New York Times, lune 13, 1971.
Carmody, lohn. “A Painting We Can Read.” (on Lloyd McNeill), Washington Post, Potomac Magazine, September 1, 1968.
Cohen, Andrea 0. “Lloyd McNeill.” De Gazette, February 20, 1970.
Crane, lane Watson. “Porter at the Barnett-Aden.” Washington Post, February 15, 1948.
Downs, Terry. “Institute of Contemporary Art.” Washington Post, March 20, 1983.
Editorial. “Alonzo Aden at Chicago Negro Exhibition.” Pittsburgh Courier, February 15, 1941. Editorial. “Negro Life and History.” Washington Daily News, November 4, 1933.
Editorial. “The New Thing.” (on Topper Carew) “Social Scene,” Washington Post, January 23, 1967. Editorial. “Howard Art Gallery.” Washington Star, November 8, 1942.
Emmart, A. D. “New Names in American Art.” Baltimore Sun, May 21, 1942.
Lemov, Penelope and Werner, Gail. “African Art Museum and Douglass Institute Are Booming.” New York Times, lune 29, 1969.
Lewis, Jessie W. Jr. “Afro-American Arts Workshop Opens. Washington Post, October 17, 1966.
Portner, Leslie Judd. “D.C. Gets a New Kind Of Gallery. (Jefferson Place Gallery) Washington Post and Times Herald, October 13, 1957.
Rainey. Ida. “Howard Art Gallery.” Washington Post, November 8, 1942. Barney. lda. “Howard Art Gallery.” Washington Post, December 13, 1942.
Richard, Paul. “McNeill’s Formidable Talent.” Washington Post, May 5, 1970.
Richard, Paul. “Two Art Gambles and One Pays Off.” Washington Post, February 10, 1968.
Staniord, Phillip. “Love Not All Recruited.” (on Museum of African Art) Washington Post, Potomac Magazine, March 9, 1969.
West, Hollie. “Carew’s New Thing.” Washington Post, September 25, 1975.
West, Hollie. “Renaissance Man in Our Midst.” (Lloyd McNeill) Washington Post, 1970.
Aden, Alonzo. “Gallery of Art at Howard University.” Southern Workman, Vol. 60, July 1931, pp. 315—317.
Bererison, Le Grace G. “The Washington Art Scene.’ Art International, Vol, XIII/10, 1969, pp. 21-23, 36-50.
Conroy, Sarah Booth. “One Man’s Passion Every Man’s Gain: African Art.” Horizon, Vol. 22, nos. 1 8r 2, January 1979, pp. 54-57.
Cuppola, John. “African Art in Washington’s Teaching Museum.” Topic, United States Information Agency, distributor.
Dean, Andrea Cohen. “The Greening of Local Artists.” Washingtonian, September 1973.
Driskell, David C. “Bibliographies in Aim—American Art.” Howard Universrty Magazine, 1978.
Greene, Carroll 1r. “Afro-American Art.” Art Gallery Magazine, Vol. X1, no. 7, April 1968.
Greene, Carroll 1r. “Perspectives: The Black Artist in America.” Art Gallery Magazine, Vol. X111, April 1970, pp. 1-31.
Locke Alain. “Advance of the Art Front.” Opportunity, Vol. 27, no. 5, May 1939, pp. 132-136.
Locke Alain. “Apropos of Africa.” Opportunity, Vol. 2, February 1924, pp. 37-40, 58.
Locke Alain. “As Others See Us.” Opportunity, Vol. 2, April 1924, pp. 109-110.
Locke Alain. “Enter the New Negro.” Survey Graphics, March 1925, pp. 631-634.
Morrison. Keith. “Art Criticism: A Pan—African Point of View.” New Art Examiner, February 1979. Vol. 6, No. 5, pp. 4-7.
Noland, Cornelia “A Documented Portrait of the Washington Artist,” Washingtonian, March 1968, p. 48.
Pach, Walter. “The Negro in Art—A Review.” Opportunity, April 1941, pp. 19—22.
Pincus-Witten, Robert. “Black Artists of the Thirties.” Artforum, Vol. 7, February 1969, p. 65.
Porter, James A. “The Negro Artist and Racial Bias.” Art Front, March 1936, p. 8.
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Porter, James A. “Malvin Gray Johnson, Artist.” Opportunity, Vol. 13, no. 4, 1935, pp. 117—118.
Porter, James A. “Robert S. Duncanson, Midwestern Romantic-Realist.” Art in America, No. 39, Vol 3, October, 1951
Porter, James A. “The Transcultural Affinities of American Negro Art.” Art Seen by Negros, Presence Africaine, Dijon, 1958.
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BIOGRAPHIES AND EXHIBITION CHECKLIST
Note: The biographies provided below give information on the artist through 1970, the ending date of the period covered by this exhibition.
LILA OLIVER ASHER. Painter, printmaker. Born: Philadelphia, Pa. Studied: Philadelphia College of Art. Selected Exhibitions: Barnett- Aden Gallery, Washington, DC, 1951; Gallery Two Twenty-two, El Paso, Tx., 1965; Thompson Gallery, NYC, 1968; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC.; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn. ; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa; Riverside Museum, NYC; Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY; University of Illinois, Krannert Museum, Champaign, 11.; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC; Virginia Museum, Richmond, Va; Studio Museum of Harlem, NYC; University of Texas, Auburn, TX. Collections: National Museum of American Art; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Howard University, Washington, DC; Barnett—Aden Gallery; Fisk University; Kastrupsamlinger Kunst Museum, Denmark; David Lloyd Kreeger Collection, Washington, DC; B’nai B’rith, Washington DC; City of Wolfsburg, Germany; National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan.
Lila Oliver Asher
- Joseph and His Brothers, 1959
Linoleum block print
161/2″ X‘ 32/12″
Lila Oliver Asher Collection
RICHMOND BARTHE. Sculptor, painter. Born: 1901. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of
Chicago, Chicago, 11., ca. 1922; Art Students League, NYC, 1931. Selected Exhibitions: Delphic Studios, NY, 1925; Caz-Delbos Galv lery, NY, 1925; Harmon Foundation, NY, 1929, 1931, 1933; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C., 1933, 1935, 1939; Harmon Foundation, College Art Association Traveling Exhibition, 1934; Howard UniverSity Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1934, 1970; New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, N1, 1935; Arden Gallery, NY, 1938; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa, 1938, 1939; New York World’s Fair, N.Y. 1939-40; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md., 1939; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, Il., 1940; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pa., 1949.
- Head of Dancer, 1939
Bronze cast on marble base
8” x 14”
- John the Baptist, 1946
Plaster Sculpture painted bronze
The Phillips Collection
ROMARE BEARDEN. Painter. Born: Charlotte, NC, 1912. Studied: New York University, NYC (BS); University of Pittsburgh, Pitts— burgh, Pa.; American Artists School; Art Students League, NYC. (with George Grosz); Columbia University, NYC, 1943; Sorbonne, Paris, France, 1950-51. Selected Exhibitions: Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh. Pa, 1937; American Art Gallery, N.Y.C, 1938: Harlem Art Center, NYC, 1939; McMillen Inc.., Galleries, NYC, 1941; Downtown Gallery, NYC, 1941; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Ma., 1943; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga,
1944; G Place Gallery, Washington, DC, 1945; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1965; Oakland Museum, Oakland, Ca, 1967; Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga, 1968; Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. RI, 1969; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Ca, 1969; Cordier and Ekstrom Gallery, NY, 1970; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1970; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma, 1970; Con- temporary Arts Museum, Houston, Tx., 1970. Collections: Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 11.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Brooklyn Museum, NY.
- Early Morning, 1967
Collage on paper and synthetic polymer paint on composition board
56″ x 39”
Howard University Gallery of Art
LEON BERKOWITZ. Painter. Born: Philadelphia. Pa Studied. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. (BEA); George Washington University Washington, DC. (MFA); Art Stu- dents League, NYC; Corcoran Gallery
semi: of Art Washington, DC: Academic Grande Chaumiere, Paris, France; Academia de Belle Arte, Florence, Italy. Selected Exhibitions. Corcoran Gallery of Art; Aldrich Museum 01 Contemporary Art; A.M. Sachs Gallery, NYC , Flint Michigan Invitational; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC.; Guelph University, Ontario, Canada. Collections Corcoran Gallery of Art; National Collection 01 Fine Arts, (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC. ; Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, Ct; High Museum at Art, Atlanta Ga.
- Agean #5, 1963
Oil on canvas
62” x 78.25”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
WILSON BIGAUD. Painter. Born: Port-au- Prince, Haiti, 1931. Studied: With Professor Borns. Selected Exhibitions: Centre d’Art, Port- au—Prince, Haiti; International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C.; Anderson—Hopkins Gallery, Arlington, Va.; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Became legendary figure in Haiti after returning to painting after a twelve year interruption due to illness.
- Cockfight, 1950
Oil on board
16.75” x 20.5”
WILLIAM CALFEE. Painter, graphic artist. Born: Washington, DC, 1909. Studied: Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, France; Cranbrook Academy of Arts, Bloomfield Hills, Mi.; Catholic University, Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Weyhe Gallery, N.Y.C.; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC. Collections: Barnett-Aden Gallery; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pa; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Cranbrook Academy of Art; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.
- Fates, 1949
28” x 46”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
- Girl on a Swing, 1948
Oil on canvas
32” x 26”
ELIZABETH CATLETT. Sculptor, painter, print— maker. Born: Washington, DC, 1915. Studied: Howard University, Washington, DC. (BA), 1936; University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa (M.EA.), 1940; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, II. (with Ossip Zadkine and Grant Wood); Art Students League, N.Y.C.; Painting and Sculpture School of the Secretariat of Public Education, Mexico City, Mexico. Selected Exhibitions: University of Iowa, 1939; Downtown Gallery, N.Y.C., 1940; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga, 1942, 1943, 1951; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Ma., 1943; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md., 1944; University of Chicago, 1944; Newark Museum of Art, Newark, N.1, 1944; Brockman Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca., 1967; La Iolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, Ca., 1970.
- The Black Woman Speaks, n.d.
Professor and Mrs. David C. Driskell Collection
- Negro Woman, 1946
13″ x 8″
ELDZIER CORTOR. Born: Richmond, Va., 1916. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 11., 1937-38; Institute of Design, Columbia University, N.Y.C., Pratt Graphic Art Center, N.Y.C. Selected Exhibitions: Artists’ Gallery, N.Y.C., 1938; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, 11., 1941, 1945: Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C., 1941; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1941; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington,DC,1945; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma., 1970.
- Cuban Theme, No. IV, n.d.
14″ X 10”
Howard University Gallery of Art
- Eva, n.d.
Oil on canvas
13″ X 11”
RALSTON CRAWFORD. Photographer, painter. Born: St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, 1906. Studied: Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, Ca., 1927-28. Selected Exhibitions: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, Ca, 1946; Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hi, 1947; University of Minnesota, 1944; Louisiana State University Art Gallery, 1950; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C., 1951.
- Abstract Drawing, 1962
Ink. line drawing
10.5” X 13.75”
Howard University Gallery of Art
BERNICE CROSS. Painter. Studied: Wilmington Academy, Wilmington, De.; Corcoran Gallery School of Art,Washington, DC; Phillips Collection School of Art, Washington, DC. Taught: Hood College, Frederick, Md; American University, Washington, DC. Employed: Director, Phillips Collection School of Art. Selected Exhibitions: Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Bertha Schaefer Gallery, N.Y.C.; Contemporary Arts Gallery, N.Y.C., Phillips Collection; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC; Little Gallery, Washington, DC; Whyte Gallery, Washington, DC. Collections: Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Springfield Museum, Springfield, Ma; Wilmington Society of Fine Arts, Wilmington, De; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.
- In the Room, n.d.
Oil on canvas
40” X 34”
GENE DAVIS. Painter. Born: Washington, DC,1920.Studied: University of Maryland; Wilson Teachers College. Taught: Corcoran Gallery School of Art, Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1964, 1968; Whitney Annual, Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C., 1967, 1968; San Fran- cisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Ca., 1968; Jewish Museum, N.Y.C., 1968; Collections: Museum of Modern Art, N .Y.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art; Tate Gallery of Art, London, England; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Phil- lips Collection, Washington, D.C.; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC.
- Sherwood Forest (1958) Magna, 1958
Oil on canvas
48″ X 96”
Gene Davis Collection
- Viper, 1970
Acrylic on unprimed canvas
81″ X 99”
Gene Davis Collection
RICHARD DEMPSEY. Painter. Born: Utah, 1909. Studied: Sacramento Junior College, Sacramento, Ca., 1929-31; California College of Arts and Crafts, 1932—34; Students Art Center, Ca., 1935-40; Taught: Corcoran Gallery School of Art, Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Academy of Art, San Francisco, Ca., 1940; Vera Jones Bright Gallery, San Francisco, Ca, 1940; Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1951; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC, 1951, 1955; Whyte Gallery, Washington, DC, 1953; Dupont Theater Gallery, Washington, DC, 1954; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, 1955, 1959, 1962, 1968; Lui-Angel Arango Gallery, Banco de la Republic, Columbia, 1963; Institute of Jamaica, 1963; Stendah Art Galleries, Los Angeles, Ca.,Oakland, Ca., 1939; Smithsonian Institution, 1939; Mills College, 1950; Howard University Washington, D.C., 1950, 1955, 1958, 1968; Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1950, 1951; Watkins Gallery of Art, American University, Washington, DC, 1956; Margaret Dickey Gallery, 1958, 1959, 1963, 1964; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md., 1958; University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1962; James A. Porter Gallery, Howard University, 1970. Collections: Corcoran Gallery of Art; Barnett-Aden Gallery; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga., American University. Awards: Times—Herald Annual Exhibition, Washington, D.C., 1943; Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1949; Julius Rosenwald Fellowship, 1964.
- Land’s End, 1959
Oil on canvas
41.5” X 58.5”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
- Southern Schools, 1946
24.5” X 29.5”
JEFF DONALDSON. Painter, educator, critic. Born: Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 1935. Studied: Arkansas State College; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ll.; Illinois Institute of Technology; Northwestern University, Evanston ll. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn.,’ National Center of Afro—American Artists, Boston, Ma.; Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Jackson State College, Ms.; Collections: South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, 11.; Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, 11.; Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.C. Former Chairman, Department of Art, Howard University. Member: Afri-Cobra.
- Victory in the Valley of Eshu, ca. 1970
40” X 30”
Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Smith Collection
AARON DOUGLASS. Painter, illustrator, muralist. Born: Topeka, Ks, 1898. Studied: University of Kansas, Lawrence, Ks. (BA), 1923; University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nb. (M.F.A.), 1922; Columbia University Teachers College, N.Y.C. (M.A.); L’Academie Scandinave, Paris, France. Studied: With Winold Reiss, 1925—27; Despiau; Waroquier; Cthon Frieze, Paris, France, 1931. Taught: Fisk University, Nashville, Tn. (29 years). Selected Exhibitions: Harmon Foundation, N.Y.C., 1928, 1935; College of Art Association Traveling Exhibition, 1934— 35, 1935—36; Texas Centennial Exposition, Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Tx., 1936; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1937; Brooklyn Museum, N.Y., 1940. Major figure in the “Harlem Renaissance.
- Study for Aspects of Negro Life, 1933
Gouache on cardboard
9.5” X 24”
Professor and Mrs. David C. Driskell Collection
THOMAS DOWNING. Born: Suffolk, Va., 1928. Studied: Randolph Macon College; Pratt Institute, N.Y.C. (BA), 1948; Academie Julian, Paris, France; Associated With Washington Workshops, 1956; Member of the “Washington Color School.” Selected Exhibitions: Adams Morgan Gallery, Washington, DC; Origo Gallery, Washington, DC; LA. County Museum, Los Angeles, Ca, 1964; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C., 1965; Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, DC, 1965; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1966; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.C., 1966; Jewish Museum, N.Y.C., 1966; Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington, DC, 1961; Allan Stone Gallery, N.Y.C., 1962; Stable Gallery, 1963, 1965. Awards: Virginia Museum Traveling Grant to Europe.
- Grid Twenty-Two, 1970
Acrylic on canvas
40” X 40”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
DAVID C. DRISKELL. Painter, graphic artist, educator. Born: Eatonton, Georgia, 1931. Studied: Howard University, Washington, DC. (B.A.),’ Catholic University, Washington, DC. (M.A.), 1962; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Me.; Netherlands Institute of the History of Art. Taught: Talladega College, Al; Chairman, Department of Art, Fisk University, Nashville, Tn; Chairman, Department of Art, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. Selected Exhibitions: Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; Studio Museum, N.Y.C.,° Brooklyn Museum, N.Y.; Bowdoin College, Me; U.C.L.A. Art Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca. Collections: Howard University; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC. Awards: Rockefeller Foundation Faculty Research, 1967; Danforth Foundation.
David C. Driskell
- Chieftain’s Chair, 1966
Oil on canvas
34” X 31”
Howard University Gallery of Art
ALINE FRUHAUF. Caricaturist. Born: New York, 1907. Studied: Parsons School of Design, NYC. Drawings Published: New World, 21, 1926; New York Post, 1926; Telegraph, 1926; Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1926; Drawings of Rosa Ponselle in Musical America, 1927; of Geraldine Ferrar in Music Courier, 1927; of Bela Bartok in Morning Telegram, 1927; of Yehudi Menuhin in Musical America, 1927; of Maurice Ravel in Musical Courier, 1928; of six play- wrights in Theatre Magazine, 1929; several caricatures for Vanity Fair, 1929; and drawings for Vogue, 1940. Illustrated Katherine Cornell in her role as Elizabeth Barrett in Barretts of Winpole Street, 1931. Selected Exhibitions: Macbeth Gallery, 1933; ACA Gallery, 1938; Whyte Gallery, Washington, DC, 1950; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC. (curated by Jacob Kainen), 1965.
- Professor Herring, 1949
22” X 17”
Howard University Gallery of Art
ROBERT GATES. Painter, educator. Born: 1906. Studied: Detroit School of Arts and Crafts, Detroit, Mi, 1927—28; Art Students League, N.Y., 1929, 1930; Phillips Collection Art School, Washington, DC, 1930-32; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Co., 1938. Em- ployed: Assistant Director, Phillips Collection Art School, 1938-42. Taught: American University, Washington, DC, 1946-75. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1940; Baltimore Museum, Baltimore, Md, 1940, 1948, 1953; Whyte Gallery, Washington, DC, 1949; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1936, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, 1955; Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970; Art Institute of Chicago, 11., 1935, 1936, 1940, 1942, 1949; Kraushaar Art Galleries, N.Y.C., 1937; Brooklyn Museum, N.Y., 1939; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, 1940, 1947, 1948, 1952; Baltimore Museum, Baltimore, Md, 1940, 1953; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C., 1950; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C. Collections: Corcoran Gallery of Art; Phillips Collection; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; American University, Washington, DC.
- Abstraction (Morning Crowing), n.d.
Oil on masonite
60” x 54”
SAM GILLIAM. Painter, educator. Born: Tupelo, Ms., 1933. Studied: University of Louisville, Ky. (B.A., M.A.), 1961. Taught: Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, Md.; Corcoran Gallery School of Art, Washington, DC; University of Maryland, College Park, Md; Carnegie—Mellon Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa. Selected Exhibitions: Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.C., 1969; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C., 1969; Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969; Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1969; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C., 1970; First World Festival of Negro Art, Dakar, Senegal, 1966; Institute of Contemporary Art, Washington, DC, 1965; Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, Brazil, 1965; Adams Morgan Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1963, 1964; Venice Biennale, Italy, 1970; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Mn.; Albright—Knox Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; Phil— lipsCollection,Washington,DC;TheArt Institute of Chicago, II; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC; Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; James H. Porter Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1970; Sidney Janis Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Selected Collections: Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; Phillips Collection; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art); Corcoran Gallery of Art; Howard University, Washing— ton,DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.
- Spread, 1970
Acrylic with aluminum powder on canvas
64” X 112”
Collection of the artist’s children
- Shoot Six, ca. 1965
Acrylic on canvas
56” X 56”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
NAPOLEAN HENDERSON. Painter, print-maker, weaver. Born: Chicago, 11. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 11. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1970; National Center of Afro—American Artists, Boston, Ma, 1970; Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.C., 1970; South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, 11. Collections: Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, 11.; Howard University; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga. Member: Afri-Cobra.
- Black Men We Need You, 1968
60” X 24”
Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Smith Collection
JAMES HERRING. Artist, educator. Born: Clio, South Carolina, 1887. Died: Washington, D.C., 1969. Studied: Howard University, Washing— ton, D.C.; Syracuse University, N.Y.,’ Columbia College, Columbia University, N.Y.C., Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Ma. Founded Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1930, the first American art gallery to be directed and controlled by blacks. Opened the Barnett—Aden Gallery With Alonzo Aden in Washington, DC, 1943.
- Campus Landscape, 1924
Oil on canvas
12” X 10”
Professor and Mrs. David C. Driskell Collection
EARL HOOKS, JR. Ceramist. Born: Baltimore, Md, 1927. Studied: Howard University (B.A.), Washington, DC; Catholic University, Washington, D.C.; Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y.; School of American Craftsmen, Rochester, N.Y. Selected Exhibitions: Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1954, 1963; Howard University Gallery of Art, 1955; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga, 1954; John Herran Art School, 1957; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Il., 1957; Barnett- Aden Gallery, Washington, DC, 1957, 1958; Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition, 1957, 1958; Everson Museum, Syracuse University, N.Y., 1963; Fort Wayne Museum, In.,1965, Talladega College, 1968.
Earl Hooks, Jr.
- Symphony of Circles, ca. 1967
11.5 X 9.5”
Keith Morrison Collection
JOSEPH JASMIN. Painter, sculptor. Born: La Grande River du Nord, Haiti, I923. Studied: Centre d’Art, Haiti, he developed a technique of firing pierced screens of brickwork and later turned to painting.
- Funerailles, n.d.
Oil on canvas
27” X 25”
EDWARD JERIMIAH. No biography available.
- Christopher, n.d.
16” X 7.5” X 4.75”
Howard University Gallery of Art
- Toussaint, n.d.
16” X 9” X 5.5”
Howard University Gallery of Art
SARGENT JOHNSON. Sculptor, ceramist, printmaker. Born: Boston, Ma., 1888. Died: San Francisco, Ca., 1967. Studied: California School of Fine Arts, Ca.,’ Boston School of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma.; A.W. Best School of Art, San Francisco, Ca. Selected Exhibitions: Harmon Foundation, N.Y.C., 1926, 1928, 1933, 1935; Harmon Traveling Exhibition of Negro Art, 1927, 1931; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Ct.; Butler Art Institute, Youngstown, Oh.; Herron Art Institute, In.; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn; Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga; City Art Museum, St. Louis, Mo.; Oakland Municipal Art Gallery, Oakland, Ca., 1930—31; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1937, I939, I940; Albany Institute of His— tory and Art, N.Y., 1945; San Francisco Museum, Ca., 1945. Collections: San Francisco Museum of Art, Ca.; Oakland Museum, Ca.; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC. Awards: Medal for sculpture San Fran- cisco Art Association, Ca., 1925, 1931, 1935; Negro Exposition of Chicago, 1940; Rosenburg Scholarship, 1944, 1949.
- Hippopotamus, 1928
6.5” X 7.5” X 24”
Howard University Gallery of Art
WILLIAM H. JOHNSON. Painter, graphic artist. Born: Florence, South Carolina, 1901. Died: 1970. Studied: National Academy of Design, N.Y.; Cape Cod School of Art, Ma; France; North Africa; Scandinavia. Selected Exhibitions: Paris, France, 1927; Nice, France, 1928—29; Harmon Foundation, N.Y., 1930—33; Copenhagen, Denmark, 1931-33; Esberj, Denmark, 1934; Auhaus, Denmark, 1934; Oslo, Norway, 1935; Volda, Norway, 1936; National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, 1937; Trondhjem Museum, Norway, 1937; Gayle Museum, Sweden, 1938; Artists’ Gallery, N.Y.C., 1939; Alma Reed Gallery, N.Y., l94l; Wakefield Gallery, N.Y., 1943—44.
William H. Johnson
- Lincoln Freeing the Slaves, ca. 1940
Oil on Masonite
36” X 33”
Howard University Gallery of Art
- Mom Alice, ca. 1940
Oil on canvas
31” X 25.25”
Howard University Gallery of Art
- Norge, Horheivsund, Hardener, 1939
Oil on canvas
28” X 30”
Howard University Gallery of Art
LOIS MAILOU JONES. Painter, designer, educator. Born: Boston, Ma., 1905. Studied: Boston Normal Art School, Ma.; School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma.; Teachers College, Columbia University, N.Y.C.; Howard University, Washington, DC; Academie Julian, Paris, France; Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, France. Selected Exhibitions: Harmon Foundation, N.Y.C., 1930—31; Salon des Artistes Francais, Paris, France, 1938—39; Galerie, Paris, France, 1938; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1939, 1951, 1968; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md., 1939, 1940, 1944; National Academy of Design, N.Y.C., 1942, 1944, 1949, 1951, 1969; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma, 1970.
Lois Mailou Jones
- Grand Bois D’Illet, 1953
Watercolor on paper
26” X 32”
- Menemsha, 1941
Oil on canvas
20” X 23”
Delilah Pierce Collection
JACOB KAINEN. Painter, printmaker. Born: Westbury, Ct., 1909. Studied: Art Students League, N.Y.C.; Pratt Institute, N.Y.C.; New York University of Architecture, N.Y.C.; George Washington University, Washington, DC. Em- ployed: Curator of Prints, the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art). Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: U.S.I.A. Contemporary American Painting Tour of Latin America; Roko Gallery, N.Y.C.; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Il.; Detroit Art Institute, Detroit, Mi.; Brooklyn Museum of Art, N.Y.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Collections: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Barnett-Aden Gallery; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Howard University Gallery of Art; Bezalel National Museum, Jerusalem.
- The Coming of Surprise, 1951
Oil on canvas
30” X 24”
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kainen Collection
- Gray Church, 1945
Oil on masonite
16.5” X 21”
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kainen Collection
WIFREDO LAM. Born: Cuba, 1902. Studied: School of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba, 1918—23; Academia Libre, Pasaje de la Alhambra, Madrid, Spain, 1924—28. Meets Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Kahnvveiler in Paris, 1938. Exhibits jointly With Picasso at Perls Galleries, N.Y.C., 1939; Meets Andre’ Breton and Benjamin Peret, 1939; Becomes member of Surrealist movement; Tries to return to Cuba, 1941, put in concentration camp for one month Where he meets poet Aimé Cesaire and is reunited with André Masson, Martinique; Exhibits in Pierre Matisse Gallery, N.Y.C., 1943; Meets Ashille Gorky, Marcel Duchamp and James Johnson Sweeney, Curator of the Museum of Modern Art, 1946; First prize, Havana National Exhibition, 1951; Italian Premio Lissone medal (gold medal awarded to foreign painters), 1953; Exhibits regularly in Paris, France after 1953; Musee de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela, 1955; Guggenheim International Award, N.Y.C., 1965; Retrospectives in Hanover, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Brussels, 1967; Retrospective, Musee d’Art Mode’rne, Paris, France, 1968.
- Exodo, 1948
Oil on burlap
49” X 61”
Howard University Gallery of Art
- Cuban, 31/40, ca. 1960
14.25” X 19.5”
National Museum of African Art
JACOB LAWRENCE. Painter, illustrator, educator. Born: Atlantic City, N.l., 1917. Studied: The Art Workshop (With Charles Alston and Henry Bannard); Harlem Art Center and American Artists School, N.Y.C., 1937-1939; Harlem Workshop, N.Y.C., 1932. Taught: Pratt Institute, N.Y.C.; Cooper Union, N.Y.C.; New School of Social Research, N.Y.C.; Currently Professor of Art, Washington University, Seattle, Wa. Selected Exhibitions: Detroit Institute of Fine Art, Detroit, M1′., 1938; Dillard University, 1938; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn., 1938; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md., 1939; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Federal Art Project, 1938—40; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga, 1944; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 11., Terry Dintenfass Gallery, N.Y.C.; Phillips Collection Washington, DC; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; Newark Museum, NeW- ark, N.l.; lames A. Porter Gallery; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.; National Institute of Arts and Letters. Collections: Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C., Metropolitan Museum of Art; Sao Paulo, Brazil. Awards: Rosenwald Fellowship 1940, 1941, 1942; Guggenheim Foundation, 1946; Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago.
- Blind Flower Vendor, 1946
Watercolor on paper
29.5” X 35”
- The South That Was Interested in Keeping Cheap Labor, panel number 41 from the “Migration Series,” 1939
Tempera on masonite
17” X 11”
The Phillips Collection
- We Declare Ourselves Independent, from the “Struggle Series,” 1956
Egg tempera on masonite
Professor and Mrs. David C. Driskell Collection
- Trees, 1942
28.5” X 20.5”
Howard University Gallery of Art
PIETRO LAZZARI. Painter, sculptor. Born: Rome, Italy, 1898. Taught: Dumbarton College of Holy Cross, Washington, DC; Corcoran Gallery School of Art, Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian Institution, Washing- ton, D.C.; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.; Museum of Honolulu, Hi. ; Miami Museum, Miami, Fl; Oklahoma Art Center, Ck; The San Francisco Museum, Ca.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C. Collections: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ll.; Baltimore Museum of Art; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Museum of Honolulu; Howard University Gallery of Art.
- Stone Age, 1947
11” X 15”
Howard University Gallery of Art
HUGHIE LEE-SMITH. Painter, educator Born: Eustis, Fl., 1915. Studied: Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ch; Wayne State University (BS), 1953; Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, Detroit, MI.; John Huntington Polytechnic Institute. Employed: Art Project, 1938—39. Acting Chairman, Howard University Department of Art, 1970. Selected Exhibitions: South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, Il., 1945; Snowden Gallery, Chicago, 11., 1945; The Thirty Galleries, Cleveland, Oh, 1950; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1955, 1958; U.S.I.A. Traveling exhibition to U.S.S.R., I950; University of Chicago, Chicago, 11., 1959; Museum of Modern Art, N .Y.C. ; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma., Cleveland Museum of Art, Oh; San Francisco Museum, Ca.; Detroit Institute of Fine Art, Detroit, Mi.; Brooklyn Museum, N.Y.; Albany Institute, N.Y.; Albright—Knox Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y. Ohio Federal
- The Old Man, n.d.
Oil on board
14.5” X 36”
Delilah Pierce Gallery
NORMAN LEWIS. Painter. Born: NeW York City, 1909. Studied: Columbia University, N.Y.C. (with Augusta Savage, Raphael Soyer and Angela Streater). Selected Exhibitions: Harlem Artists Guild, N.Y.C., 1936, 1937; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn., 1939; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md, 1939; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, N.Y., 1945; South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, 11., 1945; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C., 1970; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C., 1970; The Art Institute of Chicago, 11., 1970; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Venice Biennale, Italy.
- Hence We Come, n.d.
Oil on canvas
30” X 43”
Delilah Pierce Collection
- Study, 1954
Oil on canvas
51” X 41”
EDWARD L. LOPER. Painter. Born: Wilmington, De., 1916. Received private criticism from NC. Wyeth, Walter Pyle and David Reyam. Selected Exhibitions: Delaware Artists Annual; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Institute of Modern Art, Boston, Ma.; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.; State Armory, Wilmington, De.; Tanner Art Galleries; Newark Museum, Newark, N1; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Collections; Atlanta University, Ga.; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC.
Edward L. Loper
- Angry Cry, n.d.
Oil on masonite
27” X 38”
Howard University Gallery of Art
MORRIS LOUIS. Painter. Born: Baltimore, Md, 1912. Died: Washington, DC, 1962. Taught: Washington Workshop Center of the Arts, Washington, DC, 1952; Howard University, 1952—1955. Selected Exhibitions: Martha Jackson Gallery, N.Y.C., 1957; Institute of Con- temporary Art, London, England, 1961; Andre Emmerich Gallery, N.Y.C., 1961; Galerie Neufville, Paris, France, 1961; Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf, West Germany, 1961; Galerie Muller; Stuttgart, 1961; Galerie Lawrence, France, 1961; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952; Kootz Gallery, 1954; Catholic University, Washington, DC, 1954; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC, 1952, 1954; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.C., 1961; Seattle World’s Fair, Seattle, Wa., 1962; Norman McKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, 1962; Jewish Museum, N.Y.C., 1962.
- 2 — 69, ca. 1959
Acrylic on canvas
82” X 21″
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
EDWARD LOVE. Sculptor. Born: Los Angeles, Ca., 1936. Studied: Los Angeles City College, Ca.; University of Southern California, Ca.; California State College at Los Angeles, Ca.; University of Uppsala, Sweden. Selected Exhibitions: Uppsala, Sweden; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Studio Museum, Harlem, NYC. Collections: Golden State Mutual, Los Angeles, Ca., Uppsalastad, Sweden.
- Home Cookin’, 1969
Edward Love Collection
- A Kiss from Osiris, 1970
Edward Love Collection
HERMAN MARIL. Painter, educator. Born: Baltimore, Md, 1908. Studied: Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Md. Selected Exhibitions: Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, Ca.; Carnegie Institute Annual, Pittsburgh, Pa; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pa.; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Art, Ca.; Amherst College, Ma.; Morgan State University.
- Low Tide, 1953
Oil on canvas
24” X 40”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
- The Road, 1948
10” X 17”
The Phillips Collection
LLOYD MCNEILL. Painter, printmaker, musician, sculptor. Born: Washington, DC, 1935. Studied: Morehouse College (BA); Howard University (M.F.A.), Washington, DC; Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, France. Selected Exhibitions: Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Atlanta Arts Festival, Ga; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Dart- mouth College, Hanover, N.l-l.; Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, DC. Collections: Spelman College; Dartmouth College; Atlanta Museum, Ga; Le Havre Museum, France; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC.
- Sun Ra, 1964 (produced with Lou Stovall)
35” X 23”
- Pieces for Liberation, 1971
40” X 26”
- Edith Stein, 1969
35” X 23”
- Workshop, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1969 (produced with Lou Stovall)
23” X 35”
- Indians, 1969 (produced with Lou Stovall)
35” X 23”
- Black Arts Festival, 1968 (produced with Lou Stovall)
35” X 23”
- Wilson Breaker, Jr. Gospel Singers, 1969 (produced with Lou Stovall)
35” X 23”
- Miles, 1970 (produced with Lou Stovall)
40” X 26”
HOWARD MEHRING. Painter. Born: Washington, DC, 1932. Studied: Washington Workshop (with Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland), Washington, DC; Wilson Teachers College (BA), Washington, DC; American University, Washington, DC; Catholic University (With Noland), (M.F.A.), Washington, DC, 1965. Co- founded with Thomas Downing, the Origo Gallery, Washington, DC, 1959. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1958; Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington, DC, 1960, 1962, 1969; Adams Morgan Gallery, Washington, DC, 1963; 1966, 1968;AM. Sachs Gallery, N.Y.C., 1965, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa, 1961; LA. County Museum, Los Angeles, Ca., 1964; Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washing- ton, D.C., 1965; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.C., 1966; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C., 1967. Collections: Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC; L.A. County Museum; Pasadena Art Museum, Ca.; David Rockefeller Collection; Chase Manhattan Bank, Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, Washington, DC.
- Dark Star, 1962
Oil on canvas
36” X 36”
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum
KEITH MORRISON. Painter, printmaker, critic. Professor of Art, University of Maryland College Park, 1979 to present; formerly Associate Dean, College of Architecture and Art, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1973-78; Chairman, Department of Art, DePaul University, Chicago, 1969—71. Born: Jamaica, 1942. Studied: University of Chicago, Chicago, 11.; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BEA, MFA), Chicago, 11. Selected Exhibitions: Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Oh. ; Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.C.; Art Institute of Chicago; Alan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago, 11.; Kolver Gallery, Chicago, 11.; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Birmingham Museum of Art, Ga.; South Street Seaport Museum, N.Y.C.; Albany Institute of History and Art, N.Y.; Museum of Modern Art, Rijeka, Yugoslavia; Gallerie Tillie Hadrek, Carlshrue, West Germany; California Afro-American Mu- seum, Los Angeles, Ca.; Jan Cicero, Chicago, 11. Collections: Art Institute of Chicago; The Corcoran Gallery of Art; Jamaican National Gallery of Art; The Collection of the Republic of Liberia; The World Bank; The Washington Post Company. Selected Publications: “The Probing Line: Art of Richard Hunt,” Fisk Uni- versity, 1969; “Jacob Lawrence’s Touissaint L’Overture Series,” Art Scene, Chicago, 1969; “Black Aesthetics: A Pan—African Point of View,” New Art Examiner, 1979; “The Sword of Don Quixote: Kitaj at the Hirshhorn,” New Art Examine,r 1982; “A Critical Point of View,” Forever Free, edited by Arna Alexander Bontemps, 1981; Alexandria, Va.; Stephenson Inc., “Evocative Abstraction,” Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia, Pa, 1985.
ARCHIBALD MOTELY. Painter. Born: New Or- leans, La., 1891. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 11. Selected Exhibitions: Harmon Foundation, N.Y.C., 1929, 1931; Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellows Exhibition, N.Y.C., 1931, 1933; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 11., 1932, 1934; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 1933; Toledo Museum, Toledo, Oh, 1934; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC., 1934; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC., 1937, 1938, 1945; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md., 1939.
- Saturday Night, 1935
Oil on canvas
32” X 40”
Howard University Gallery of Art
KENNETH NOLAND. Painter. Born: Asheville, NC, 1924. Studied: Black Mountain College, 1946—48; Also With Ossip Zadkine. Paris, France, 1948—49. Selected Exhibitions: Barnett- Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Washington Workshop, Washington, DC; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Jewish Museum, N.Y.C., 1964; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Ma.; Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, Ca., 1965; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C., 1968, 1970; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.C., 1970.
- Inside, ca. 1950
Oil on masonite
23.5” X 29”
The Phillips Collection
- Shadow Line, 1968
Serigraph on linen
16” X 47”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
IRENE RICE PEREIRA. Painter. Born: Boston, Ma., 1907. Studied: Academie Mode’rne, Paris, France; Art Students League, N.Y.C. San Diego, Ca. Collections: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; The Corcoran Gallery of Art; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Brooklyn Museum, N.Y.; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa; Butler Institute of American Art, Oh. ; Cincinnati Museum of Art, Oh; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
- Aurora Borealis, 1951
171” X 11”
The Corcoran Gallery of Art
DELILAH PIERCE. Painter, educator. Born: Washington, DC, 1904. Studied: Minor Teachers College, Washington, DC; Howard University (BS), Washington, DC; Columbia University, Teachers College (M.A.), N.Y.C; University of Pennsylvania, Pa.; New York University, N.Y.C; University of Chicago, Chicago, 11.; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C Taught: DC Public School System, Washington, DC; Assistant Professor, Art Education, DC Teachers College, Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Margaret Dickey Gallery, 1949-64; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1949; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.; New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, N.J.; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.; Howard University Gallery of Art; Catholic University, Washington, DC; Hampton Institute, Va.; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; American Federation of Art, N.Y.C; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Dupont Theatre Gallery, Washington, DC; Society of Washington Artists, James A. Porter Gallery, Howard University, 1970.
- D.C Waterfront—Maine Avenue, 1957
Oil on board
18” X 24”
Delilah Pierce Collection
HORACE PIPPIN. Sculptor, painter. Born: West Chester, Pa, 1888. Died: West Chester, Pa., 1946. Selected Exhibitions: Museum of Modern Art, NYC, 1938; Carlin Gallery, Philadelphia, Pa, 1940; American Negro Ex- position, Chicago, 11., 1940; Arts Club of Chicago, 11., 1941; Bignou Gallery, N.Y.C., 1940; Downtown Gallery, N.Y.C., 1941; San Fran— cisco Museum of Art, Ca., 1942; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa, 1944; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga., 1944; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1945; Knoedler Galleries, N.Y.C., 1947; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Mn., ca. 1950.
TEODORO RAMOS-BLANCO. Sculptor. Born: Havana, Cuba, 1902. Studied: The Academy, San Alejandro, Cuba; Rome, Italy. Selected Exhibitions: Harmon Foundation, N.Y.C., 1933; Seville, Spain; Rome, Italy; Riverside Museum, N.Y.C.; Club Atenas, Havana, Cuba; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940.
- Guitar Player, 1939
7” X 5”
MALKIA ROBERTS (nee. Lucille D). Painter. Born: Hyattsville, Md. Studied: Howard University, Washington, DC. (3A.); University of Michigan (M.F.A.); Catholic University, Washington, D.C.; Parsons School of Design, N.Y.C.; with lack Perlmutter, Washington, DC; New York University, N.Y.C. Selected Exhibitions: Society of Washington Artists; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Hampton Institute, Va.,’ Washington Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Dickey Gallery, Washington, DC; DC. Teachers College, Howard University.
- Natural Woman, ca 1970
50” X 36”
Malkia Roberts Collection
JOHN ROBINSON. Painter. Born: Washington, DC, 1912. Studied: Howard University, Washington, DC. (With James Herring). Selected Exhibitions: Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.,1944; Howard University Gallery of Art; Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, Washing- ton, D.C.,° Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
- Self Portrait, n.d.
Oil on canvas
27” X 25”
- Reclining Woman, 1952
Oil on canvas board
20” X 24”
John Robinson Collection
- Christmas Door, 1958
Oil on canvas
20” X 24”
John Robinson Collection
RAYMOND SAUNDERS. Painter. Born: Pitts— burgh, Pa., 1934. Studied: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa. ; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.; Carnegie-Mellon Institute (BEA), Pittsburgh, Pa.; California College of Arts and Crafts (M.F.A.), Los Angeles, Ca. Selected Exhibitions: San Francisco Museum of Art, Ca., 1961; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1962, 1967; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C., 1963, 1964, 1967; UCLA Traveling Exhibition, 1966—67; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.,1968; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pa., 1968; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C., 1969; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma, 1970; Terry Dintenfass Gallery,1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 1969; La Lolla Museum Art, Ca., 1970; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1970. Collections: Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. N .Y.C.,
- Mother and Child, 1961
Oil on canvas
50” X 34”
Howard University Gallery of Art
CHARLES SEBREE. Painter, illustrator. Born: Madisonville, Ky, 1914. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Il. Employed: The Works Progress Administration (Easel Divi- sion), 1936—38; Illustrated Countee Cullen’s book Lost Zoo. Selected Exhibitions: International Watercolor Society; Federal Art Project Gallery, Chicago, 11.; Grace Horn Gallery, Boston, Ma.; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Institute of Modern Art, Boston, Ma.; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; City College of New York, N.Y.C. Collections: Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washing— ton, D.C.; National Archives, Washington, DC; New York City Public Library, N.Y.C.; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.; National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, DC.
- Head of Woman, n.d.
Encaustic on board
15” X ll”
Delilah Pierce Collection
MERTON SIMPSON. Painter. Born: Charles— ton, SC, 1928. Studied: Cooper Union, N.Y.C.; New York University (With William Halsey and Robert Motherwell), N.Y.C. Selected Exhibitions: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.C.; Contemporary Art Gallery, N.Y.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Brooklyn Museum, N.Y.C.; Oakland Museum, Oakland, Ca.; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.; City College of New York, N.Y.C.; National Museum of Japan; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn. Collections: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Howard University, Washington, DC; James I. Sweeney Collection; Scott Field Museum; Atlanta University; Gibbes Art Gallery, Charles- ton, S.C.; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Ma.; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Fisk University.
- Sky Poem, 1961
Oil on canvas
54” X 54”
FRANK E. SMITH. Painter, printmaker, ceramist. Born: Chicago, 11., 1935. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ll. Taught: Assistant Professor of Art, Howard University, Washington, DC, 1970. Selected Exhibitions: Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.C.; National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston,Ma; Howard University Gallery of Art; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn.; Oakland Museum, Oakland, Ca.,’ University of Massachusetts, Amherst,Ma.; University of Virginia, Va. Collections: Oakland Museum, Oakland, Ca.; Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, 11.; Howard University, Washington, DC. Member: Afri-Cobra.
Frank E. Smith
- I Saw Faces in Your Hair, ca. 1970
Acrylic, fiber, embroidery, animal dye
27” X 46”
Frank E. Smith
- A Nation Starts With One Black Family, ca. 1970
Acrylic on canvas
49.5” X 49.5”
Frank E. Smith
CARROLL SOCKWELL. Painter. Born: 1943. Studied: Corcoran Gallery School of Art, Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Corcoran gallery of Art, 1968; Lee Nordress Gallery, N.Y.C., 1969; Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington, DC, 1970; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; State Armory, Wilmington, De.
- “Untitled,” ca. 1970
Acrylic on paper
12.5” X 3”
Joanna Shaw Eagle collection
MOSES SOYER. Painter. Born: Russia, 1899. Studied: Cooper Union Art School, N.Y.C.; National Academy of Design, N.Y.C. ; BeauX Arts Institute of Design; Education Alliance School; (with Robert Henri and George Bellows). Selected Exhibitions: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Toledo Museum, Toledo, Oh.; Newark Museum, Newark, N.I.; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Oh.; National Academy of Design, N.Y.C.; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Collections: Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; Brooklyn Museum, N.Y.; Detroit Art Institute, Detroit, Mi; Evanston Museum of Art, Syracuse, N .Y.
- “Untitled,” n.d.
20” X 24”
Delilah Pierce Collection
THEODOROS STAMOS. Painter. Born: New York City, 1922. Studied: American School (With Simon Kennedy and Joseph Kunzal). Selected Exhibitions: Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Brandeis University; Philadelphia Art Alliance, Pa.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Il.,’ Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa; Sixth Tokyo International, Japan; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.C.,° Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C. Collections: Museum of Modern Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; University of California Museum, Berkeley, Ca.,’ New Jersey State Museum, N.I.; Albright— Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.,° Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Mn.; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Ct.; Detroit Institute of Fine Arts, Mi.; Art Institute of Chicago; Tel AViV Museum, Israel; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC.
- Mexican Prisons, 1948
Mixed media on paper
22” X 19”
- The Sacrifice of Chronos 1948
Oil on masonite
48″ X 36″
The Phillips Collection
NELSON STEVENS. Painter, printmaker. Born: Brooklyn, N.Y., 1938. Studied: Ohio University (BEA), Oh., 1962; Kent State University (MFA), Oh., 1969. Selected Exhibitions: National Center of Afro—American Artists, Boston, Ma., 1970; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, 11.; Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.C. Collections: Kent State University, Oh.; Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, 11.; Karama House, Cleveland, Oh.; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn. Member: Afri-Cobra
- The We In You Is The Nation Calling, ca. 1970
24” X 18”
Keith Morrison Collection
LOU STOVALL. Printmaker. Born: Athens, Ga, 1937. Studied: Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.l.; Howard University (B.F.A.), Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, DC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Fendrick Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Baltimore Museum Traveling Exhibition of Prints and Posters. Collections: National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art), Washington, D.C.,’ Corcoran Gallery of Art; The Washington Post Company, Washington, DC; John and Mable Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Fl.,° Atlanta Christian College, Ga; Lynchburgh College, Lynchburg, Va. Awards: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship,1972, 1973, 1974; Stern Family Fund, Washington, D.C., 1968, 1969.
- Sun Ba, 1969 (produced with Lloyd McNeill)
35” X 23”
- Workshop, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1969 (produced With Lloyd McNeilI)
23” X 35”
- Indians, 1969 (produced With Lloyd McNeilI)
35” X 23”
- Black Art Festival, 1969 (produced With Lloyd McNeilI)
35” X 23”
- Wilson Breaker, Jr. Gospel Singers, 1969 (produced With Lloyd McNeiII)
35” X 23”
- Miles, 1970 (produced With Lloyd McNeill)
40” X 26”
CELENE TABARY. Painter, designer. Born: Vermelles, France, 1908. Studied: Academie Julian, Paris, France. Taught: “Little Paris” group (With Lois Jones), Washington, DC, 1948. Selected Exhibitions: Dupont Theatre Gallery, Washington, DC; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Ma; Whyte Gallery, Washington, DC; National Academy of De- sign, N.Y.C.; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.; Pyramid Club, Philadelphia, Pa.; Watkins Gallery, American University, Washington, DC. Collections: Palais National, Haiti; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC.
- Cabris et ses Oliviers, 1951
Oil on board
10” X 8”
Delilah Pierce Collection
BILL TAYLOR. Sculptor. Born: Atlantic City, N.1., 1927. Studied: Washington Institute of Contemporary Arts, Washington, DC; Catholic University, Washington, DC. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC; Catholic University; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga.; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn.; Los Angeles County Museum, Ca.
- Torso, 1960
Wood and stone
29” X 5” X 6”
Delilah Pierce Collection
ALMA THOMAS. Painter, educator, gallery director. Born: Columbus, Ga., 1896. Studied: Howard University, Washington, DC. (was the first student to be graduated in 1924 from the Art Department); Columbia University, N.Y.C., 1934; American University, Washington, DC. (painting With Summerford, Gates and Kainen), 1950—60. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1966, 1970; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md, 1971; over 70 other exhibitions from 1950 to 1970.
- Circle of Flowers, 1969
Oil on canvas
50” X 47.5”
Delilah Pierce Collection
- Study of a Young Girl, 1956
Oil on masonite
35” X 27.5”
- Yellow and Blue, 1957
Oil on canvas
28” X 28”
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kainen Collection
MILDRED THOMPSON. Painter, sculptor. Studied: Hamburg, Germany. Lives in Germany. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1961,1970.
- Earth, Sky, and Space, n.d.
Oil on canvas
24” X 48″
Howard University Gallery of Art
JAMES LESENE WELLS. Painter, printmaker. Born: Atlanta, Ga., 1902. Studied: Lincoln University, Pa. ; National Academy of Design, N.Y.C.; Teachers College, Columbia University, N.Y.C. (B.S.) Selected Exhibitions: New York Public Library, N.Y.C., 1921; Harmon Foundation, N.Y.C., 1931; Downtown Gallery, N.Y.C., 1932; Brooklyn Museum, N.Y., 1932; Barnett—Aden Gallery, Washington, DC, 1932; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pa., 1933; Tyler Museum, Philadelphia, Pa., 1933; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn., 1933; Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga., 1933; Atlanta University, Ga., 1933; Texas Centennial Exposition, Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Tx., 1936; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washing- ton, DC, 1937, 1945, 1970; Smithsonian lnstitution, Washington, DC, 1940; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Ma, 1943; New Age Gallery, N.Y.C., 1947-1950, 1950-1961.
James Lesene Wells
- And On They March, n.d.
18” X 12”
Howard University Gallery of Art
- Jerusalem, 1935
Oil on canvas15” X 28”
The Phillips Collection
CHARLES WHITE. Painter, graphic artist. Born: Chicago, 11., 1918. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 11.; Art Students League, N.Y.C.; Taller de Grafica, Mexico. Selected Exhibitions: San Francisco Museum of Art, Ca.; Palace of Culture, Warsaw, Poland; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washing- ton, D.C.; Kunstnerned Hus, Osal, Norway; Pushkin Museum, Moscow, USSR; Heritage Museum, Leningrad, USSR; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma; University of Wisconsin; Morgan State College; National Center of Afro-American Art, Boston, Ma.; LA. County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Ca.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.C.; First World Festival of Negro Art, Dakar, Senegal. Collections: Tuskegee Institute; Hampton Institute; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; Academy of Arts and Letters; Long Beach Museum of Art, Ca.; Library of Congress, Washington, DC.; Taller de Graiica, Mexico; Deutsche Akademie der Ku”nste, Berlin, West Germany; Dresden Museum of Art, E. Germany; Howard University; Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Folk Singer, 1958
Woodcut on paper
40.5” X 22”
Delilah Pierce Collection
- Mother Courage, n.d.
51” x 23”
GERALD WILLIAMS. Painter, printmaker. Born: Chicago, 11. Selected Exhibitions: Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1970; National Center of Afro—American Artists, Boston, Ma, 1970; Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.C., 1970; South Side Community Art Center Chicago, 11. Member: Afri-Cobra.
- Garvey, ca. 1970
Acrylic on canvas
35” X 31”
Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Smith Collection
ELLIS WILSON. Painter. Born: Mayfield, Ky. Studied: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 11. Selected Exhibitions: Augusta Savage Studios, N.Y.C., 1939; New York World’s Fair, N.Y.C., 1939-40; Harmon Foundation, N.Y.C., 1940; Dillard University, New Orleans, La., 1940; Atlanta University, Ga., 1940; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1940, 1970; McMillan Galleries, Inc., NYC, 1941; G Place Gallery, Washington, DC, 1949; Albany Museum, N.Y., 1949; Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC, 1949.
HALE WOODRUFF. Painter, printmaker, muralist, educator. Born: Cairo, 11., 1900. Studied: John Herran Art Institute, Indianapolis, In.; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cam- bridge, Ma.; Academie Scandinave, Paris, France; Academie Moderne, Paris, France; Tanner Institute, Paris, France, 1931; Studied fresco painting in Mexico with Diego Rivera, 1936. Selected Exhibitions: John Herran Art Institute, 1923-24, 1931, 1933, 1935; Pacquerean Gallerie, Paris, France, 1930; Valentine Valley, N.Y., 1931; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Ga., 1935, 1938; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md., 1939; New York World’s Fair, N.Y.C., 1939-40; American Negro Exposition, Chicago, 11., 1940; Grace Horn Galleries, Boston, Ma., 1944; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C., 1967; LA. County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Ca., 1967; San Diego Art Museum, Ca., 1967; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma., 1967; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1967; New York University, N.Y.C., 1967.
KENNETH YOUNG. Painter. Born: Louisville, Ky, 1933. Studied: Indiana University; Louisville University (B.A.), Louisville, Ky. Selected Exhibitions: State Armory, Wilmington, De. ; University of Iowa, Iowa City, la.; AM. Sachs Gallery, N.Y.C.; Fisk University, Nashville, Tn.; Gallery K, Washington, DC. Collections: John— son Publishing Company, Chicago, ll.; AT & T; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Fisk University; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Md.
- Ruby, ca. 1970
Acrylic on canvas
67” X 48”