What's Happening At The Gantt
Gantt Book Club Discussion - Wild Seed
May 31 - Join other book lovers and explore Gantt exhibitions from a new perspective! Books that have inspired I See You: The Politics of Being exhibition artists are on tap. Join us for an engaging book discussion around artist Michaela Pilar Brown’s ...
I SEE YOU: The Politics of Being
January 26, 2014 - June 1, 2014 - This exhibition presents the work of six contemporary artists who expand the constructs of female identity in the 21st century. Surveying the range of ideas and illusions of the feminine mystique, this exhibition explores how women of the African Di...
The John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art
The Hewitt Collection of African-American Art consists of works by renowned artists including Romare Bearden, regarded as one of the greatest American artists of his generation; Henry Ossawa Tanner, one of the first African-American artists to achieve acclaim in both America and Europe; Elizabeth Catlett; Jonathan Green; Jacob Lawrence; Ann Tanksley; and Hale Woodruff. Bank of America acquired the Hewitt Collection in 1998 from John and Vivian Hewitt, and pledged it as a cornerstone of the Gantt Center's permanent collection.
Dedicated collectors despite their financial limitations (John was a freelance writer and Vivian a librarian), through their 50 years of collecting, the Hewitts became close friends with many of the artists. By the 1970s they were opening their home to showcase the work of Hale Woodruff, Ernest Crichlow, Alvin Hollingsworth, and J. Eugene Grigsby, a cousin of Mrs. Hewitt's.
The Hewitts were newlyweds when they bought their first piece of art, a Picasso reproduction. In 1960, they acquired their first original painting while on vacation in Haiti, and added to it one painting at a time, commemorating special occasions in their lives with art. "Our collection…until 1960, it would be called eclectic," Vivian stated. "John decided we should be more focused. For 15 years, we focused on Haitian art. (Later) my husband said, 'We know most of these African-American artists. We had better back up and collect some from our own culture, while we can afford them."
Vivian's cousin, J. Eugene Grigsby, is an artist and internationally acclaimed art educator who also introduced the couple to numerous artists, many of whom wrote personal inscriptions or notes on the pieces the couple purchased, increasing their value both monetarily and sentimentally. For 10 years the Hewitt collection has toured the United States. The Gantt Center is very pleased to serve as its home.
The Hewitt Collection of African American Art, is an assemblage of fifty-eight works that celebrates the expression and passion of twenty artists, including Romare Bearden, Margaret Burroughs, Jonathan Green, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.
Credits: Gantt Center opening. (l. to r.) David Taylor, Gantt Center President & CEO; Hugh McColl, Former Bank of America CEO; Vivian Hewitt and Harvey B. Gantt
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