Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Acquire Major Works from African American Artists

Joe Minter, 'Camel at the Watering Hole' (1995). (Courtesy of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the largest public arts institution in San Francisco, announced Thursday an acquisition of 62 major works from African American artists in the south.

The organization, which operates the de Young and the Legion of Honor, acquired a mix of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by 22 celebrated artists, including Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley and Ralph Griffin. The works came from the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and promoting the work of black artists from the American south.

The de Young plans to debut the acquired works in an exhibition, Revelations: Art from the African American South, which opens on June 3 of this year.

Mose Tolliver (1919-2006), "Rainy Sunshine, Cats and Dog, Drum Beater," 1967.
Mose Tolliver (1919-2006), "Rainy Sunshine, Cats and Dog, Drum Beater," 1967. (Photo: Stephen Pitkin)

“While all these compelling objects embody universal human values, they are also powerful testaments to African American cultural resilience and survival,” notes Timothy Anglin Burgard, the curator-in-charge of American Art for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “Originally created as expressions of personal identity and communal solidarity in the South during the modern Civil Rights era, they will now serve as catalysts to transform global art history.”

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco says its relationship with Souls Grown Deep spans back to 2006, when it hosted The Quilts of Gee's Bend exhibit.

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