The director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Max Hollein, announced today that sixty-two works by contemporary African American artists from the southern United States have been acquired by the museums from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta. This major acquisition from the foundation’s William S. Arnett Collection was possible through the Fine Arts Museums’ own funds and a gift from the foundation.
Hollein said, “The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco house one of the nation’s greatest 350-year survey collections of American art, with the renowned Rockefeller Collection as its cornerstone. Accordingly, we feel a special responsibility to take the lead in expanding the representation of artists who reflect the historical diversity of American culture. This groundbreaking acquisition of contemporary art adds an integral—and exceptional—chapter to our signature collection of American art.”
Included in the new acquisition are paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by twenty-two artists such as Thornton Dial, Ralph Griffin, Bessie Harvey, Lonnie Holley, Joe Light, Ronald Lockett, Joe Minter, Jessie T. Pettway, Mary T. Smith, Mose Tolliver, Annie Mae Young, and Purvis Young. Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, said of the exchange: “Our collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco on this historic acquisition is at the heart of our mission to make the work of these African American artists from the South accessible to the public and scholars alike . . . As an advocate for these artists and their enduring legacies, our partnerships with major American museums are critical to ensuring that their contributions are woven into the greater narrative of art in America.” The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will display the entire acquisition in an exhibition titled “Revelations: Art from the African American South,” curated by Timothy Anglin Burgard and opening June 3, 2017, at the de Young Museum.