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New Acquisitions: African-American Masters Collection at Sheldon Museum of Art
1921 U. of Nebraska Art Club, Douglas at left (1921 yearbook photo).

LINCOLN.- Sheldon Museum of Art presents significant works by 20th century African-American artists acquired in auctions and sales this fall. The purchases include works by Charles White, Alvin Loving, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles Alston, Löis Mailou Jones and Aaron Douglas.

The acquisitions are:

Aaron Douglas (1899 – 1979), Emperor Jones. Set of 4 woodcuts on Japan paper, 1926. Each 8 x 5 1/2 inches.

Löis Mailou Jones (1905 – 1988), Fille assise avec chat. Oil on canvas, 1938. 31 1/2 x 24 3/4 inches.

Charles Alston (1907 – 1977), Deserted House. Lithograph, circa 1938. 11 1/8 x 15 1/4 inches.

Charles White (1918 –1979), Frederick Douglass Lives Again (The Ghost of Frederick Douglass). Pen and ink over pencil on illustration board, 1949. 20 x 30 inches.

Charles Alston (1907 – 1977) Untitled (Figures with Architecture). Tempera and crayon on wove paper, 1949. 13 x 15 inches.

Alvin D. Loving, Jr. (1935 - 2006), Untitled (Hexagon Composition). Acrylic on shaped canvas, circa 1967-69. 54-inches diameter (hexagonal).

Romare Bearden (1911 – 1988) Carolina Blue (Interior). Color screenprint with collage, 1970. 23 7/8 x 17 7/8 inches.

Jacob Lawrence (1917 – 2000) Eight Passages.8 color screenprints chine-collé on St. Armand paper, 1990. Each 26 x 40 inches (sheets).

Elizabeth Catlett (1915 – ) Blues Player. Lithograph, 1995. 11 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches.

Elizabeth Catlett (1915 – ) Pensive Figure, bronze sculpture, 1968. 18 x 12 x 17 inches.

Veneciano said, “Sheldon is successfully competing with the top museums in the country in acquiring coveted works in the 20th century African-American art market. We now celebrate these acquisitions to the African-American Masters Collection at Sheldon. As our participation in the auction clearly indicates, the Sheldon Museum of Art collects great American art in all its important and multifaceted manifestations. We will continue to collect aggressively from the vital and sometimes under-represented history of American art.”

Douglas, a preeminent African-American modernist, worked as a busboy and dishwasher while a student at the University of Nebraska. He graduated in 1922, the first African-American to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree at the university. Later in life, Douglas recalled his student days as "four anxious, sweaty, nerve-wracking years." And then recognized the lasting effect of this period, saying, "Fortunately, this experience proved to be the best possible training and orientation for the creation and interpretation of the life I was later called on to depict."

Douglas is known for his visionary use of Afro-centric allegory in representing heroic struggles of African Americans. During the late-1920s he was a pivotal figure in the circle of New York artists and writers now referred to as the Harlem Renaissance. He did illustrations for African-American magazines, created book covers, and painted canvases and murals. In 1937 he went on to Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., where he established the art department and taught for 29 years.

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