". . . this collection has a narrative and descriptive thrust that is centered on the social and economic history of African Americans in the United States and presents a kaleidoscopic view of Black life and cultural history. The insistent integrity of the works included reflects a deep understanding of African American social values and celebrates with pride both a humble and a noble existence."
African American art is reaching a wider audience today than ever before, as major exhibitions tour museums around the country. Inspired by the exhibit Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art, 1800-1950, Harmon and Harriet Kelley began collecting African American art in 1987 and have amassed a collection that represents a broad range of genres and artists from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Profusely illustrated with color and black-and-white plates, this catalog accompanies a traveling exhibition of the Kelley collection, comprised of 124 works by 70 artists, including Edward M. Bannister, Elizabeth Catlett, William H. Johnson, Emma Lee Moss, Charles E. Porter, Henry O. Tanner, and Dox Thrash. Essays on "Nineteenth-Century African American Art," "Twentieth-Century Artists," and "American Art and the Black Folk Artist" build an illuminating context for the works, restoring them to their rightful places in the history of American art.