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A Century of African American Art: The Paul R. Jones Collection Paperback – October 26, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (October 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813534577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813534572
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,947,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A Century of African American Art showcases the work of 66 artists found in the seminal collection created by Paul R. Jones. Born in Alabama, Jones was active in the civil rights movement, worked in the White House, and served as a deputy director of the Peace Corps in Thailand. A man of modest means with a great passion for art, Jones sought to both support African American artists and redress the absence of black artists in mainstream museums. And what an eye Jones has. This beautifully produced book presents stellar work by such artists as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Betye Saar, and Leo Twiggs, as well as photographs by James VanDerZee, Prentice H. Polk, and Carrie Mae Weems, all accompanied by perceptive essays and useful artist biographies. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Ten essays that examine four key issues in American art … come together in this resource." -- Forecast

"[Jones's] collection of fifteen hundred plus art works is one of the world’s largest private collections of African American art." -- Homes of Color

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AfroAmericanHeritage on February 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Paul R. Jones differs from the typical collector of world-class art in too many ways to enumerate. For one thing, he is not independently wealthy nor did he inherit a fortune - no, this son of a miner grew up in a work camp, and for most of his life, his "day job" has been public service. But he has brought to his collection - and therefore, to us - a personal passion, curiosity and creativity unsurpassed by the likes of Guggenheim or Getty.

The "dean of African American collectors," Jones avoided trend buying and operated outside the more traditional acquisition modes. He occasionally purchased work he "did not understand by artists he did not know" because, in his words, "something in it drew me in...and I trusted it to take me somewhere..." Buying from (at the time) relative unknowns, his purchase often paid the month's rent or put food on the table.

The result of this 40 year commitment to African American artists is a magnificent panorama encompassing 1500 works by the likes of Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Betye Saar and more than 60 others. This astounding collection has been donated to the University of Delaware's University Museum, and this book helps celebrate the first major exhibition of works drawn from it.

The book presents gorgeous reproductions of more than 100 works by 66 artists, with biographical information about them and also about Jones. But it's not a mere exhibition catalog; it also presents ten thought-provoking essays which intentionally strive to "de-race" African American art, placing it within the larger picture of the nation's history and cultural traditions. For example, Ikem Stanley Okoye's essay "Reign(ing) in Color: Toward a Wilder History of American Art" explores how the systematic use of color serves purposes other than surface appearance.

A magnificent book to celebrate a magnificent collection.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Century of African American Art: The Paul R. Jones Collection is a great introduction to works by the Mid Century Masters. It was an excellent source for learning about the greatest African American Masters of the Mid 20th Century. The detailed and colorful works were a great depiction of the movements of subjects or images of the African American people, especially from the WPA Era to present. The autobiographies provided insightful information to help expand my knowledge of the black masters. The curator did an excellent job in presenting the great life perspective of the late master colletor Paul R. Jones. I enjoyed, appreciated and learned a lot from the author's writing, which has further increased my appreciation of the value of many of the works of the Master Artists that. This book, in my opinion provides for the proper recoginition African American Artists in the American Art communities; job well done by Dr. Amalia K. Amaki and I look forward to reading her next book on African American Fine Art by the great Master Artists and Sculpture.
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