Arts / Galleries

African-American Art Finally Gets Its Financial Due — and a Houston College Museum’s On the Cutting Edge of the Trend

BY // 03.03.16

The field of African-American art is hot. A once overlooked art historical niche, black painters, sculptors and photographers of the past century are the last great undervalued area within American art, and both collectors and institutions are racing to catch up. Enter this month’s show at The University Museum at Texas Southern University, “Collector’s Legacy: Selections from the Sandra and Lloyd Baccus Collection.”

The exhibition travels to Houston from the University of Maryland David C. Driskell Center, a leading think tank for the study and exhibition of works by black artists in America. The nearly 70 works on view include titans of the field such as Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, as well as Houston’s own Dr. John Biggers and iconic portrait lensman James Van Der Zee. The lyrical power of the influential Charles Alston and fellow Harlem Renaissance artist Loïs Mailou Jones is presented alongside today’s contemporary masters, including Betye SaarRadcliffe Bailey and Faith Ringgold.

University of Maryland professor emeritus David C. Driskell — artist, scholar, collector and the center’s namesake — does curatorial honors. The late Sandra and Lloyd Baccus established a successful medical business in Atlanta, where they were collectors, community leaders and patrons of TSU’s University Museum. Mrs. Baccus grew up in Austin, the daughter of famed philanthropist and Civil Rights activist Ada Collins Anderson.

The couple bequeathed their significant $2.4 million cache of African-American art to the Driskell upon Mrs. Baccus’ passing in 2012, so it seems fitting that it touch down at the University Museum this spring.

March 11 – April 24, at The University Museum at Texas Southern University, umusetsu.org.

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