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Jonathan Green. Easter (detail). 1989.
Jonathan Green. Easter (detail). 1989.

BALTIMORE, MD (May 25, 2004)—The Baltimore Museum of Art presents an exhibition featuring works by the some of the foremost African-American artists of the last century. Celebration and Vision: The Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, on display from May 30 through August 8, features nearly 60 paintings and works on paper by 20 renowned artists, including Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Elizabeth Catlett.

“The BMA is thrilled to be able to present the Hewitt Collection, a veritable ‘who’s who’ of African-American artists,” said BMA Director Doreen Bolger. “Works by many of these American masters can also be found in the BMA’s outstanding collection of African-American art.”

This exhibition of the Hewitt Collection features a wide range of vibrant and poignant artworks, from powerful portraits and drawings to colorful collages and abstract paintings. Harlem street scenes give way to glimpses of Africa, and views of community life run from church services to the neighborhood card game. Additional artists include Charles H. Alston, John T. Biggers, Margaret Burroughs, Ernest Crichlow, James Denmark, Jonathan Green, J. Eugene Grigsby, Earl Hill, Alvin C. Hollingsworth,Ronald Joseph, Hughie Lee-Smith, Virginia Evans Smit, Ann Tanksley, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Ellis Wilson, Frank Wimberley, and Hale Woodruff.

Purchased by Bank of America in 1998 from John and Vivian Hewitt of New York, the Hewitt Collection represents more than 50 years of collecting and is regarded as one of the most important and compre-hensive collections of African-American art of the 20th century. Collecting art by the country’s best African-American artists was the Hewitts’ lifelong passion. As a teacher and a librarian, they did not have an unlimited budget; however, they had an eye for fine art and emerging artists who would grow to national prominence. They made countless trips to studios to meet and mix with their extensive network of friends and artists, and many of these works include personal inscriptions celebrating special occasions in the lives of the collectors. Since 1999, Bank of America has been underwriting a traveling exhibition of these works to museums and cultural centers throughout the United States.

“Bank of America is committed to improving lives by providing educational opportunities, building inclusive communities, and promoting cultural outreach,” said Laura L. Gamble, president, Bank of America Maryland. “The Hewitt Collection showcases the legacy and contributions of the artists to the community and, in particular, how African-American culture and art are a vital part of our society.”

This exhibition is organized by Bank of America, N.A., and made possible in Baltimore by Bank of America Maryland.

Celebration and Vision: The Hewitt Collection of African-American Art is curated at The Baltimore Museum of Art by Susan Dackerman, Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs, with assistance from Heather Egan and Lynette Roth, graduate interns from The Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Art History.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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