Cover image for To conserve a legacy : American art from historically Black colleges and universities
To conserve a legacy : American art from historically Black colleges and universities
Powell, Richard J., 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Andover, Mass. : Addison Gallery of American Art ; New York : Studio Museum in Harlem ; Cambridge, Mass. : Distributed by MIT Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
240 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
General Note:
Catalog of a traveling exhibition held at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Mar. 17-July 11, 1999 and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Aug. 31-Oct. 31, 1999 and other institutions.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6538.N5 P68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
N6538.N5 P68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

On Order



This text documents a sampling of paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures owned by Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Hampton University, Howard University, North Carolina Central University and Tuskegee University.

Author Notes

Richard J. Powell, author, editor and art history professor, earned a Ph. D. at Yale University.

He is currently the department chair of Art History at Duke University. He specializes in American and African American Art.

He wrote Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century, a comprehensive look at African American art forms, and edited Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance. In addition, he was co-curator of an exhibit organized by the Addison Gallery of America Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. A catalog of the exhibit was published under the name To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This beautiful art book exhibits the art and artists that have been undervalued and ignored by white cultural and academic institutions. The book profiles the institutions and collections of Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Hampton University, Howard University, North Carolina Central University, and Tuskegee University. Art collecting at these historically black colleges and universities (beginning with Hampton Institute in 1868) predated formal collections at museums and galleries. Powell and Reynolds cover such rich periods of artistic activity as the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project of the 1930s. This book represents more than 200 works and 100 artists. Artists associated with these schools include John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, and Henry O. Tanner. The informative essays included recount the origins of the project, funded by several philanthropic foundations, as well as the process of conserving old works of art and educating a new generation of artists and art historians. --Vanessa Bush

Library Journal Review

The works in this companion to a traveling exhibition are drawn from collections of American art held by six of the oldest, most prestigious historically black universities (Clark Atlanta, Fisk, Hampton, Howard, North Carolina Central, and Tuskegee). The exhibition proclaims the importance of these hitherto little-known collections, which consist primarily of works by major and minor 19th- and 20th-century African American artists, as well as such well-known modernists as Hartley and O'Keeffe. The text consists of an anthology of essays that discuss the development of the exhibition, the history of the collections, and related conservation issues. Following is an alphabetically arranged biographical catalog of artists featured in the exhibition. The scholarly tone of much of the writing and the emphasis on academic issues will make this somewhat challenging for the general public, but this important book brings to light notable collections that deserve more attention. Highly recommended for academic art libraries.ÄEugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This impressive exhibition catalog of prestigious art in six historic black colleges and universities goes far beyond the scope of major exhibition records. It embodies a "new body of knowledge" never previously compiled in American cultural history, the outcome of an innovative project by two major art museums--The Studio Museum in Harlem and The Addison Gallery of American Art--and the traditionally black colleges and universities--Howard, Fisk, Clark Atlanta, North Carolina Central, Tuskegee, and Hampton--in collaboration with Duke University and Williamstown Art Conservation Center. This effort opens to the public not only a major exhibition of some 200 works by 100 master African American artists of the 19th through the 20th centuries. The project points up the role of the black institutions as preservers of the significant heritage of African American artists who emerge today as major American art masters and master artist-teachers. Works by Edmonia Lewis and Robert S. Duncanson, Henry O. Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Archibald Motley, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, to today's Sam Gilliam are exhibited with works of their peers of different cultural heritages such as John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Demuth, and Josef Albers. Valuable to American cultural history and rewarding for those searching for new dimensions in American heritage and art history. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. J. L. Leahy; Marygrove College