Tritobia Benjamin, Ph.D.
American Art from the Howard University Collection
The first director of the Howard University Gallery was James V. Herring, who also founded the Department of Art in 1921. He was succeeded by James A. Porter, internationally renowned art historian and critic.
The Gallery’s growth has always depended upon the generous help of alumni and friends of the University who donate works of art or make extended loans to the Gallery. The first work to enter the collection with funds contributed by friends, alumni, and the public was Henry O. Tanner’s “Return from the Crucifixion”, an oil-tempera painting which was the last work completed prior to his death in 1937.
Over the years the collection has grown, thanks to private collectors, art foundations, various government agencies, and the friends of the Gallery. Dr. Alain Locke, professor of philosophy at Howard University and the first African American Rhodes Scholar, bequeathed his paintings, books, sculpture, and memorabilia to Howard. The collection has been augmented over the years by other substantial donations. Examples include a “study collection” of 12 Renaissance and baroque paintings, and a Renaissance sculpture received from the Samuel W. Kress Foundation in the early sixties. In 1961, the current Fine Arts complex, Crampton Auditorium, Ira Aldridge Theatre, and Lulu Vere Childers Hall, opened to the public. Located in Childers Hall, the Gallery consists of three interconnecting galleries. That same year, the IBM Corporation donated a group of seven paintings and four sculptures to the Gallery.
© 2000 Howard University. H. Patrick Swygert, President
HOWARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, 500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059. Phone (202) 806-7234.
Web Production: André Kareem Mekkawi.
Source: American Art from the Howard University Collection
A production on CD-ROM by Howard University Television (WHUT-TV),
Howard University Radio (WHUR-FM) and Information Systems and Services.