The Freedom Place Collection
January 16 - March 15, 2009
Jan 16, 5-7 p.m.
Jan. 16, 4-5 p.m.
A Conversation with the Collectors - Stuart Bloch and Ambassador Julia Chang
Bloch - and artist Robert Freeman.
The Freedom Place Collection consists of 52 works by five contemporary
African American fine artists, Romare Bearden, Benny Andrews, Alma Woodsey
Thomas, Richard Yarde and Robert Freeman.
They have been collected over the past 30 years by Stuart Marshall Bloch,
who is fond of saying: “Nobody can say about art that it’s the right piece
or the wrong piece – it’s just what you like… All I did was say ‘yes.’ For
him art is not a commodity, rather something you love to be around.
This is a carefully nuanced collection, each work playing off another and
adding up to a sophisticated assemblage of contemporary fine art that
represents a first rate contribution to American art today.
That all five artists are African American is significant both because there
are uniquely Black characteristics in the works and because of the overall
power of these works as they are collectively presented.
The subjects, mediums and messages differ widely – from abstract to
figurative, rural to urban, incorporating color theory, collage,
lithographs, oils and watercolors. Many diverse elements are presented,
from country figures to city scenes, from geometric designs to magical
landscapes, with intense, brooding characters, jazz musicians, and elegant
party-goers – there is something for everyone.
Good design, and a dramatic use of color and line command our attention.
The prominent artists whose work is represented in The Freedom Place
Collection are separated artistically by the individuality of their
creativity and process, yet linked by the African-American experience and
heritage, a powerful wellspring of inspiration that has uniquely nurtured
and enriched their art.
born in rural Georgia during the Depression (1930), tells stories about
people, places and things in a style ranging from caricature to fully
realized paintings. His work is exhibited and collected by major museums
here and abroad.
(1912-1988), one of America’s pre-eminent artists, was a draftsman, painter,
water-colorist and, most notably, a collagist. Born in North Carolina, and
raised in Pittsburgh and New York’s Harlem, Bearden worked in various
styles, including cartoon and drawing, social genre, modernism, abstract
expressionism and photo-collage. The Freedom Collection includes some of
Bearden’s most innovative and expressionistic works. Created between 1970
and 1985, they embody the characteristic subjects and motifs that occupied
his imagination over a 40-year period. The recipient of many honors, Bearden
received the National Medal of Arts in 1987. His works are in distinguished
public and private collections throughout the United States.
(b.1939) is much admired for his figurative work depicting well-heeled
African-Americans at sophisticated gatherings, and his restful landscapes.
The Boston-based artist has exhibited extensively and is widely collected in
(1891-1978) had her first one-woman show at age 68, and went on to have
retrospectives at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum of
American Art and the Whitney Museum, where she was the first
African-American woman to have a solo exhibition. Raised in Columbus,
Georgia, she moved to Washington DC at a young age, where she lived for 71
years. She is best-known for her large, mosaic-like canvases, filled with
dense, irregular patterns and bright colors.
(b.1939) brilliant watercolors range from evocative to lyrical portrait
studies and complex, figurative compositions. Boston-bred, his works
reflect city and African-American city dwellers, as well as famous black
personalities. His paintings are in many prestigious institutions,
including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.