Heckscher Museum of Art

Huntington, Long Island, NY

(516) 351-3250



The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art

February 5, 2000 - April 9, 2000


The extraordinary scope and diversity of art by African Americans will be on view in a new exhibition at the Heckscher Museum of Art. The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, an exhibition of more than 70 paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs, opens on Saturday, February 5, 2000 and remains on view until Sunday, April 9, 2000. The works of the exhibition, spanning more than 150 years, include historic mid-19th century sculptures by Mary Edmonia Lewis, depictions of the vibrancy of cultural life during the Harlem Renaissance, works influenced by the social realism of the 1950s, and contemporary works by sculptor Richard Hunt. Among the other important artists represented in the show are Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Scott Duncanson, Aaron Douglas and James Van Derzee. (left: Aaron Douglas, Boy with Toy Plane, 1938, oil on canvas, 22 1/2 x 17 inches)

Walter O. Evans is a Detroit surgeon who has amassed one of the largest private collections of art by African Americans. His collection also encompasses rare books and literature pertaining to the African American experience. Evans began collecting seriously during the late 1970s when he met Romare Bearden, the famed artist whose roots lay in the visual and literary movement of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Evans bought a collage from Bearden and went on to champion other major 20th-century figures Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett and Richard Hunt. He also commissioned family portraits from photographer James VanDerzee. (right: Robert Scott Duncanson, Chapultepec Castle, c. 1855, oil on canvas, 24 x 31 inches)

Now recognized as one of the most important collections of art by African Americans, the Evans collection is notable not only for its quality but for its depth and historic range. Dr. Evans will share stories of his collection and of its founding on Sunday, February 6, 2000 in a slide lecture being offered by the Museum in conjunction with the exhibition's opening. The 3 pm lecture, sponsored by Palanker Chevrolet, will be held at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington.

The Museum is offering many other programs which will serve to amplify and illuminate the works on view in The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art. These programs include a storytelling concert for children the morning of February 12 and for adults the evening of February 12, a workshop for teachers on February 16, a one-day workshop for children on February 24, a lunchtime discussion with Hofstra University Professor Joseph McLaren on February 28, and an adult art history series beginning on March 3. Call the Museum at (631) 351-3250 for information about these and other public programs.

Free Gallery Talks are offered on Saturdays at 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm and on Sunday at 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm. No reservations are needed to join the talks. Additionally, docents will be in the galleries on Wednesdays and Thursday 1-3 pm. Free Family Gallery Guides suggesting family activities while touring the exhibition are always available.

Revised 1/14/00


Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Heckscher Museum of Art.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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