From Library Journal
A pioneering figure in African American art history, Driskell has been honored on his retirement from the University of Maryland with an exhibition of selected works from his seminal collection. This accompanying catalog is intended as an homage to Driskell as scholar, teacher, artist, patron, and collector. The selected works were created from the mid-1800s to the early 1990s and are here grouped into historical periods based on the content of the art and what they say about the social, ethnic, and creative roles of the artists. Unique emphasis is placed on the influence of African American art teachers and institutions in fostering the development of black art. Essays by distinguished scholars provide background to the collection; especially interesting is Sharon Patton's history of African American art collecting. Narratives notes that Alma Thomas (1891-1978) "contradicted assumptions about appropriate subject matter and styles for African American artists [and]...rejected suggestions that she paint `black' subjects." The Fort Wayne Museum, IN, exhibition and catalog of over 50 of her paintings clearly demonstrates that Thomas's work is firmly rooted in the modernist tradition of abstractionAwith emphasis on vibrant colors generating geometric forms set in dynamic compositions. Four scholarly essays explicate her work and unique role in modern American art as a black woman artist. Both of these volumes are highly recommended for libraries with an interest in art and/or ethnic studies.AEugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib.
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