Trevor Arnett Hall, 2nd Level
(404) 880-6102/6644
(404) 880-6968 (fax)
Email: tdunkley@cau.edu

Collections

Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries
(CAUAG) possesses a permanent collection of some 640 works of art in three major categories:

  • Contemporary American
  • African American
  • African

The three collections include paintings, murals, sculpture, works on paper and ethnographical artifacts acquired through annual purchases and donations. Of the three collection categories, the largest and most historically significant is the African American. It comprises some 950 works of art spanning seven decades (1914-1998). The renowned collection is rivaled only by the art collections at Hampton University in Virginia and Howard University in Washington, D.C. Significant works in the collection include Henry O. Tanner's Disciples Healing the Sick, Snow Morning by Romare Bearden, Brownstones by Jacob Lawrence, and the Art of the Negro mural series by Hale Woodruff.

CAU's tradition in fostering the arts began in 1942 when exhibition opportunities for artists of color were limited due to segregation. Then Atlanta University, under the direction of Hale Woodruff (1900-1980) inaugurated the annual "Exhibition of Paintings, Prints and Sculpture by Negro Artists of America" to provide black artists a national forum to exhibit their work. Over the course of three decades the juried exhibitions presented to the American public over 900 artists from across the country. Each year an average of 12 pieces were purchased for the University collections. In this way, works by artists who were virtually unknown to the mainstream art world, but later hailed as masters (i.e., Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, John Biggers, Lois Mailou Jones and Roy DeCarava) entered the university collection. By the close of the annuals in 1970, the University had acquired 291 pieces by 155 artists.

Over the years, the university has received numerous gifts from such generous benefactors as Chauncey and Catherine Waddell, Judge Irvin C. Mollison, James Baldwin, Richard Long, the Harmon Foundation, Louisa and Matilda Cartledge, Judith Alexander and many others. Their contributions have augmented the collection to include works by Beauford Delaney, Romare Bearden, John Marin, Isabel Bishop, Charles Dawson, William H. Johnson, Kapo, Nellie MaeRowe, Sam Gilliam, Radcliffe Bailey and Larry Walker. The African art collection acquired from several donors is comprised of 348 pieces of varying aesthetic value, and characterized as a study collection.


 
Henry O. Tanner
Disciples Healing the Sick, 1924

 
Romare Bearden
Snow Morning, 1959

 
Jacob Lawrence
Playland, 1948

 
John Wilson
Negro Woman, 1952

 
William Artis
A Mother's Love, 1963

 
Elizabeth Catlett
Negro Woman, 1952

 
Roy DeCarava
Pickets, 1946

 
William H. Johnson
Woman in Blue, c. 1969

 
Lois Mailou Jones
Voodoo Worshipers, c. 1955

 
Radcliffe Bailey
Collaboration w/CurtisPatterson
Date of Arrival, 1998



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