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In the Eye of the Muses: Selections from the Clark Atlanta University Art Collection. 

In the first catalog to chronicle the collection since its inception in 1942, this publication features a rare, up close and personal look at notable pieces of art and the collective story they tell of the 20th century, in regard to theme, subject, medium, and the artists themselves. Originally released in 2012, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of CAU’s historic permanent collection and the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of The Art of the Negro mural series—all attributed to the vision and creativity of artist and teacher Hale Aspacio Woodruff (1900-1980) – In the Eye of the Muses offers an enchanted world for art collectors, artists, and scholars to relish page-by-page.

In 1942, Woodruff began the Exhibition of Paintings, Prints, and Sculptures by Negro Artists of America at Atlanta University. The annual, national juried show continued until 1970. The title essay, “In the Eye of the Muses,” by Tina M. Dunkley, Director of the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, provides an account of the sociopolitical climate and racial politics that produced this 28-year exhibition.


  • Essays/Contributors:Introduction by Richard A. Long, Ph.D. (1925-2013), longtime fine arts advisor to the CAU Art Collection. This Introduction is one of Long’s last published writings before his passing.

  • Atlanta art critic Jerry Cullum, Ph.D. offers an essay on the development and execution of Hale Woodruff’s Art of the Negro  murals (1950) bringing the six-panel suite forward to post modern art where it was recently lauded in Europe for being the first 20th century painting to feature an image of the Yoruba deity Shango. 

  • Art collector Brenda Thompson, a major patron of the arts. 
  • Artist Freddie Styles, who shares reflections on his participation in the national juried exhibitions, which became known as the Atlanta University Art Annuals. 
  • Correspondence between Romare Bearden and the University administration debating the efficacy of sponsoring an “all-Negro” national juried exhibition. 
  • Comprehensive appendix that includes missing pieces that Clark Atlanta University would like to retrieve. 
  • A census of 887 artists and their exhibitions records on a CD.



“In the Eye of the Muses is an invaluable portrait of this historic collection and the era that shaped it.“ ~ Felipe Barral and Catherine Fox, ArtsATL

 “There’s a luscious book out about Clark Atlanta University’s collection of art! … It’s called In the Eye of the Muses, is edited by Tina Dunkley, and contains beautiful color plates displaying the art that the University has collected over the past seventy years. … In addition to the book’s richly visual format that displays many artworks concerned with the racial justice issues of the 1940’s and ’50’s, its essays provide interesting background information concerning the tribulations surrounding the collection. … Since the publisher is the Clark Atlanta University Galleries, we can expect the book’s voices to carry scholarly tones. But to read the essays closely reveals the scholars’ passion for their subject. … Good book.” ~ Atlanta Art Blog, 2013

In the Eye of the Muses: Selections from the Clark Atlanta University Art Collection

Hardcover: 978-0-615-59005-9 
Soft Cover: 978-0-615-59427-0 

To purchase a copy of the catalog email with the subject line: Purchase - Catalog. 

Hardcover: $60.00
Soft Cover: $45.00