An interview of Sylvan Cole conducted 2000 June-October, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art.
The interviews took place over five sessions in New York, New York. Cole discusses the history of Associated American Artists, the gallery for whom he began working in 1946, and its marketing techniques, customer base, and personalities, such as its founder, Reeves Lewenthal. He also traces his own development as a dealer in prints after he left AAA and recalls many artists and other figures in the art world, including Will Barnet, Werner Drewes, Richard Florsheim, Helen Frankenthaler, David Hockney, Hans Hofmann, Edward Hopper, Una Johnson, Jacob Kainen, Jack Levine, William S. Lieberman, Robert Motherwell, and Raphael Soyer.
Biographical / Historical:
Sylvan Cole (1918-2005) was an art dealer and writer of New York, New York.
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 7 hr., 6 min.
Sound quality is fair; beginning and endings of tapes tend to be garbled and low.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 33.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diaries, calendars, inventories, interview transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 33.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diary and journal entries, calendars, inventories, interview and "dialog" transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.
Biographical materials include items concerning Kainen's career as a curator and artist, in addition to a useful bibliography, detailed biographical outline, and a copy of an FBI report compiled on him. Also included are five videocassette recordings of Kainen.
Alphabetical correspondence/subject files comprise the bulk of the collection and include both Jacob's and Ruth's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, artists, art critics, curators, museums, arts organizations, galleries, and many others. There is a significant amount of correspondence with David Acton, the Addison Gallery of Art and Jock Reynolds, William Agee, Australian National Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Avis Berman, the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Elizabeth Broun and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bryce Butler, Pheobe Cole, the Corcoran Gallery and School of Art, Richard Field, Ruth Fine, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Newton Frohlich, Gordon Gilkey and the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Arshile Gorky, Piri Halesz, Carol Harrison, Donald Holden, Wilhelmina Holladay, John Baptist Jackson, Jim Jordon, Lou Kantor, Harry Lunn Jr., Middendorf Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Peter Morse, Gerald Nordland, Francis O'Connor, Jerome Pollack, Richard Powell, Ann Purcell, Harry Rand, Martin Ries, Joseph Solman, Leo Steinberg, Prentiss Taylor, Victorino Tejera, Valerie Thornton, Joanne Weber, and numerous family members.
Writings are by and about Jacob Kainen. Kainen's writings include articles, lectures, exhibition catalog essays, notes, travel notebooks, short stories, poems, and written statements about his artistic motivations and justifications. There are writings about Kainen by Avis Berman, Ruth Cole Kainen, and others. The bulk of the numerous diary entries are from Ruth Cole Kainen's diaries, many of which concern Jacob and their family. There are also annotated and revised diary entries. There is one folder of diary entries and one folder of journal entries by Jacob Kainen and two dismantled journal-like notebooks. The papers include daily calendars and travel itineraries from 1972 through 2001.
The papers include transcripts of formal interviews and informal conversations with Jacob Kainen. Transcripts are of informal dinner, telephone, and general conversations between friends, colleagues, artists, and Ruth Cole Kainen. Included are conversations with Avis Berman, Walter Hopps, Harry Rand, Joshua Taylor, and several others. Many of these transcripts were also annnotated by Jacob and Ruth Kainen. Also found are numerous transcripts of more formal interviews with Kainen by art historians, art critics, and students.
There are inventories, appraisals, and lists of sold and not sold paintings, as well as color photographs of some of Kainen's works of art. Also found are inventories of the Kainens' art collection. Printed materials include Kainen's exhibition catalogs and announcements, clippings of articles by and about Jacob Kainen, and an exhibition guestbook.
Photographs are of Kainen with his family and friends, at exhibition openings, and working in his studios. Works of art by others includes handmade greeting cards, limited edition prints, and portfolios given to Jacob Kainen. Nine scrapbooks containing news clippings and exhibition publications document the entirety of Kainen's career as an artist.
The Jacob Kainen papers are arranged into 11 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1938-2001 (Boxes 1, 32; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence/Subject Files, 1936-2003 (Boxes 1-12, 32-33; 11.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, circa 1920s-2002 (Boxes 12-13, 33; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 4: Diaries, circa 1952-2002 (Boxes 13-18, 33-38; 10.0 linear feet)
Series 5: Calendars, 1953-2008 (Boxes 18-20, 38; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 6: Transcripts, circa 1975-1994 (Boxes 20-21, 38; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 7: Inventories, 1927-2001 (Boxes 21-22; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1938-2003 (Box 22, 38, OV 31; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 9: Photographs, 1905-2000 (Boxes 22-25, 38, OV 31; 3.3 linear feet)
Series 10: Works of Art by Others, 1942-2000 (Boxes 25-26, OV 31; 1.2 linear foot)
Series 11: Scrapbooks, 1936-1998 (Boxes 27-30, 38; 1.3 linear feet)
Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator who worked primarily in Washington, D.C.
Born on December 7, 1909 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Jacob Kainen moved with his family to New York City in 1918. Kainen studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn from 1927 until 1930, and at the Art Student's League. In the early 1930s, Kainen became involved in social causes and formed close friendships with the early abstractionists, including John Graham, Arshile Gorky, and Stuart Davis. He joined the Artists' Union and a contributor to its journal, Art Front, along with Stuart Davis and Harold Rosenberg. Jacob's participation in the Artists' Union was later investigated by the FBI.
From 1935 until 1942, Kainen worked for the Graphic Arts Division of the Works Progress Administration in New York City and began exhibiting with the New York School. It was during this period that he married Bertha Friedman. Jacob and Bertha had two sons together, Dan and Paul, and divorced in 1968.
In 1942, Kainen made a life-changing decision to leave New York City and move to Washington, D.C. to accept what he thought would be a temporary position as a scientific aide in the Division of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian Institution. Kainen quickly became Assistant Curator and Curator in 1946. He served as Curator for twenty years, completely reshaping the department and building the graphic arts collection. His print exhibitions brought the work of S.W. Hayter, Josef Albers, Adja Yunkers, Louis Lozowick, Karl Schrag, José Guerrero, Louis Schanker, Werner Drewes, and Boris Margo to Washington audiences - graphic work that might not have been shown that early in the area.
1947 marked the opening of the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts, where Kainen served as a teacher and guide to several important artists, helping to make the workshop a magnet for new talent and instrumental in furthering the careers of several artists. Although Kainen taught Gene Davis and Alma Thomas and introduced Morris Louis to Leon Berkowitz, he never considered himself a member of the "Washington Color School."
In 1949, the Corcoran Gallery of Art held a retrospective of Kainen's prints and three years later Kenneth Noland organized Kainen's first painting retrospective at Catholic University. Kainen's paintings from the 1940s illustrated a shift away from social realism toward abstract expressionism. In 1956, Jacob Kainen received a grant from the American Philosophical society to conduct research in Europe for his monograph on the English woodcut artist, John Baptist Jackson. He traveled to Europe again in 1962 to study paintings and prints from the Mannerist Period.
From 1966 until 1970, Kainen worked as the Curator of prints and drawings at the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum). He married Ruth Cole in February of 1969. Kainen retired from the Smithsonian a year later to devote himself full-time to his art, but continued to serve as a special consultant to the Smithsonian American Art Museum for nineteen years. In 1971 and 1972, Kainen taught painting and the history of printmaking at the University of Maryland. A retrospective of Kainen's paintings was held in 1993 at the National Museum of American Art (SAAM).
Throughout his artistic career, Kainen experimented with different mediums and explored different styles, yet he identified himself as a painter. Jacob Kainen participated in at least twenty-five one man shows and several group exhibitions. His works are in collections across the United States and abroad, including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the British Museum. He worked in his studio up until the time of his death on March 19, 2001 at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Jacob Kainen conducted by Avis Berman in 1982 for the Archives' "Mark Rothko and His Times" oral history project. Also found are microfilm copies of Bertha Kainen's correspondence with Avis Berman regarding Berman's essay about Jacob Kainen.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels 565, 2147-2149, and 2200) including correspondence, writings by Kainen, and papers relating to the Smithsonian Institution Loyalty Board's investigation of Jacob Kainen from 1942-1954. Most, but not all, of the loaned materials were included in later gifts. Loaned materials not donated at a later date remain with the lender and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Jacob and Ruth Kainen first lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming from 1973-1981, the bulk of which was included in the later gifts. Papers were then donated in multiple accretions between 1981-2007 by Jacob and Ruth Kainen, and in 2009 from the estate of Ruth Kainen via executor Teresa Covacevich Grana. Also in 2003, eight photographs of Jacob and Ruth Kainen were transferred from the National Portrait Gallery to the Archives of American Art.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
An Interview of Kenneth Noland conducted 1987 July 1-16, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art.
Noland speaks of his interest in working in series, as influenced by David Smith; the influence of other artists and art movements, and the problems caused by this influence; the Washington art scene in the 1950s; self criticism; his philosophy of drawing; subject matter and content; abstract expressionism and its development; painting and its relationship to architecture; collectors; his work in sculpture; the relationship of sculpture to his painting. He recalls David Smith, Jacob Kainen, and Clement Greenberg.
Biographical / Historical:
Kenneth Noland (1924-2010) was a painter and educator in South Salem, N.Y., and friend of David Smith.
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 27 min.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
An interview of Jacob Kainen conducted 1982 Aug. 10-1982 Sept. 22, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Kainen speaks about his family and educational background; early interest in art; his studies at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; showing at the ACA Gallery; the community of artists in New York in the late 1930s; writing for ART FRONT; his employment by the graphic arts division of the WPA-FAP in New York; his move to Washington, D.C., in 1942, to work for the Smithsonian Institution; his first marriage to Bertha Friedman and their children; his career in Washinton, D.C. as a curator, painter, printmaker, writer, and teacher; the FBI investigation of his background; and the art scene in Washington, D.C. Kainen also recalls artists he has known including Stuart Davis, Joseph Solman, John Graham, Mark Rothko, Pietro Lazzari, Willem de Kooning, Max Schnitzler, Arshile Gorky, Gene Davis, Alma Thomas, George McNeil, Kenneth Noland, Boris Margo, Stanley Hayter, and Ad Reinhardt. He discusses Mark Rothko's influences, how he "hated the art industry" and was secretive about his art materials. Kainen also recalls encountering Rothko in Provincetown in 1968 and comments on his art and his suicide. Jacob Kainen's wife, Ruth, was also present and contributed her recollections.
Biographical / Historical:
Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator from Washington, D.C. Studied at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; died at age 91.
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and his Times oral history project, with funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
Others interviewed on the project (by various interviewers) include: Sonia Allen, Sally Avery, Ben-Zion, Bernard Braddon, Ernest Briggs, Rhys Caparn, Elaine de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Esther Gottlieb, Juliette Hays, Sidney Janis, Buffie Johnson, Louis Kaufman, Jack Kufeld, Katharine Kuh, Stanley Kunitz, Joseph Liss, Dorothy Miller, Betty Parsons, Wallace Putnam, Rebecca Reis, Maurice Roth, Sidney Schectman, Aaron Siskind, Joseph Solman, Hedda Sterne, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente and Ed Weinstein. Each has been cataloged separately.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews Search this
Bertha Kainen's correspondence with art historian Avis Berman, first husband, artist Jacob Kainen, and National Museum of American Art Director, Elizabeth Broun, regarding Berman's essay, "Images from a Life," in JACOB KAINEN (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1993). Kainen discusses what she believes to be errors in Berman's essay. The book was published on the occassion of a Jacob Kainen retrospective exhibition at the National Museum of American Art, 1993.
Biographical / Historical:
Bertha Kainen was the first wife of artist Jacob Kainen.
Donated 1994 by Bertha Kainen.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The papers of art historian Belisario Contreras measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1943 to 1984. The papers document his research on New Deal Art Projects, including correspondence and copies of correspondence with William C. Agee, George Biddle (including 16 photographs of murals in Mexico City and Washington, D.C. and a clipping), Mrs. Edward Bruce, Olin Dows, Maria Ealand, Arlene Jacobowitz, Masha Zakheim Jewett (including an exhibition catalog and clippings on Bernard Baruch Zakheim), Horace Kallen, Rockwell Kent, Chet LaMore, Merwin C. Phelps, David W. Scott, Harold Weston, and others. Also found are National Endowment for the Humanities grant proposals "NDA Projects in Pennsylvania," 1975, and "Images of the Heartland," 1980, and notes from Contreras' interviews with Maria Ealand, John Gernand, Jacob Kainen, Dorothy Miller, and Selma Rein.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art historian Belisario Contreras measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1943 to 1984. The papers contain his research on New Deal Art Projects, including correspondence and copies of correspondence with William C. Agee, George Biddle (including 16 photographs of murals in Mexico City and Washington, D.C. and a clipping), Mrs. Edward Bruce, Olin Dows, Maria Ealand, Arlene Jacobowitz, Masha Zakheim Jewett (including an exhibition catalog and clippings on Bernard Baruch Zakheim), Horace Kallen, Rockwell Kent, Chet LaMore, Merwin C. Phelps, David W. Scott, Harold Weston, and others; National Endowment for the Humanities grant proposals "NDA Projects in Pennsylvania," 1975, and "Images of the Heartland," 1980, and notes from Contreras' interviews with Maria Ealand, John Gernand, Jacob Kainen, Dorothy Miller, and Selma Rein.
Biographical / Historical:
Belisario Contreras was an Argentinian born art historian who lived and worked in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1983 he published the book "Tradition and Innovation in New Deal Art."
Papers of Belisario R. Contreras, 1860-1976, are also located at The University of New Mexico's Center for Southwest Research.
Donated 1985 by Belisario Contreras.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Art historians -- New Mexico -- Albuquerque Search this
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Alma Thomas papers, circa 1894-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of the Alma Thomas paper is provided by The Walton Family Foundation and The Friends of Alma Thomas
The Historical Records of the Barnett-Aden Gallery showcases one of the first galleries owned and operated by African Americans. The work of the Gallery was invaluable as they opened the exhibition space to established and unknown artists regardless of race or gender.
Scope and Contents:
The Historical Records of Barnett-Aden Gallery collection includes historical background materials on the gallery, its founders James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden as well as Adolphus Ealey, its steward after its closure in 1969. The materials include correspondence, business records, photographs, exhibition catalogues, and clippings.
The materials in this collection have been kept at the folder level and separated into four series. The materials have been ordered and organized based on the content. Within each series and subseries, the folders are organized as close to the collection's original order as when it was acquired.
The Barnett-Aden Gallery, suggested to be the first African American privately-owned gallery in the U.S, open its doors on October 16, 1943. The gallery was founded by artist and scholar James V. Herring alongside his protegee, curator Alonzo Aden. The gallery was housed in a private home that they shared, located on 127 Randolph Street NW in Washington, DC. These men aimed to create an art gallery that provided a venue for underrepresented artists of all races and genres. It was this partnership that laid the foundation for the shift in African American representation in modern art. Aden stated that the gallery's aims were to help foster new talent while also bringing "art of superior quality" to the community. Throughout its history, the gallery held almost 200 exhibitions and showcased the work of over 400 artists.
James Vernon Herring was born on January 7, 1887 in Clio, South Carolina to an African American mother, Alice Herring (1860-1942), and white father, William Culbreth. As a young man, he moved to Washington, DC for better educational opportunities. Herring was educated at the Howard Academy, a preparatory high school located at nearby Howard University campus. Herring received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and completed graduate studies at Columbia and Harvard Universities. Trained in art and classical studies with a focus on French impressionism, Herring was initially brought on Howard University's faculty as architecture instructor in 1920. This experience inspired Herring to create the Department of Art at the university where he convinced former home economics student and future prominent visual artist, Alma Thomas to be the art school's first graduate in 1924. Herring continued to mentor and discover young artists as was the case with Alonzo Aden.
Alonzo Aden was born on May 6, 1906 in Spartanburg, South Carolina to Naomi Barnett (1883-1956) and Ephraim Aden (1859-1917). His working-class parents wanting more for their eldest son, decided to send him to live with relatives in Washington, DC for greater educational opportunities. Aden did well academically and completed some studies at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) before finally entering Howard University in 1927. The following year, Herring opened the Howard University Gallery of Art and installed Aden as its first curator. Aden initially pursued a career as an educator but became more interested in art history and after his graduation from Howard in 1933, he pursued studies in museum and curatorial work.
Recent scholarship has suggested that Herring and Aden were in a romantic as well as working relationship. Working together in the Howard Gallery of Art, they sought to provide a space for art students, local artists and other relatively unknown artists from around the world. Living together since 1929, Herring supported Aden's post-graduate pursuits including his studies of African arts and crafts in galleries across Europe as well as his curatorial work at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago in 1940. Aden returned to Washington to great acclaim and continued his work with Herring at the Howard Gallery of Art.
The Gallery was housed in a Victorian townhouse located in the then middle-class African American neighborhoods of LeDroit Park and Logan Circle (present-day Bloomingdale). Research notes that the house was purchased during the late 1920s by Herring with some assistance of artist Alma Thomas (or vice versa). Both were listed as owners of the property until 1933 when Aden was listed as the co-owner. In 1943, Aden resigned as head of the Howard Gallery for unknown reasons which led Herring and Aden to open a gallery in their home. The gallery was named after Aden's mother Naomi, who also served as an early benefactor of the gallery giving $1,000 in support. It was the support of various benefactors alongside Herring's salary as a Howard professor and Aden's several "government jobs" that kept the gallery afloat during its time in the home. The first floor of the gallery consisted entirely of exhibition space with the second-floor space interchanged between exhibition, study, and living spaces over the years. Herring's library, also located on the upper floors, was used for research by students and local scholars. Herring and Aden never saw the gallery as a truly profitable venture but instead wanted to offer avenues for the artists to showcase their work. As policy, each artist retained all money earned from sales but were required to donate at least one work of art to the Barnett-Aden collection.
The gallery, the first of its kind in Washington at the time, exhibited works of artists regardless of race; African American artists displayed alongside their more notable white peers. Notable artists featured in the gallery include Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, and M.C. Escher were exhibited alongside notable African American artists Richmond Barthé, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Selma Burke as well as many others. Several Howard professors who went on to have notable art careers also exhibited their work at the gallery including James Porter, Lois Mailou Jones, and James Lesesne Wells. Many of the artists featured in the gallery were also greatly involved in the operations. Alma Thomas served gallery's vice president before she began exhibiting her work there in 1950s. Artist and scholar, David Driskell served as the associate director of the gallery after Aden's death.
The gallery held five to eight exhibitions every year including a special annual anniversary exhibition. In 1944, the gallery opened a show featuring Brazilian modern artist, Candido Portinari, who had previously completed a mural at the Library of Congress, that sparked great interest at the gallery. The exhibition opening brought in visitors from all over Washington including members of the president's cabinet, foreign ambassadors and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. This renewed interest created a somewhat hectic pace in keeping up with the work of the gallery. This pace coupled with the full-time jobs and other ventures including a gift shop enabled the gallery to act as a luminary of the African American and local arts community in Washington.
In 1961, while preparing for the annual anniversary exhibition, Alonzo Aden died suddenly. Herring with aid of his friends and students took on the management of the gallery after his partner's death but was unable to keep the pace of Aden's work and the attendance declined. In 1969, Herring died in the home leaving behind a formidable legacy. The home and its contents including the gallery's art collection was sold in order to settle the debts of Herring's estate. The collection was divided amongst three individuals. Artist and former Herring student, Adolphus Ealey inherited the bulk of the collection that featured 250 significant works. Herring's books, graphic drawings, and prints were given to Herring associate and friend, Dr. Felton J. Earls, while the sculptures went to art collectors and friends Dr. and Mrs. Cecil Marquez.
The portion of the collection owned by Ealey was described as the preeminent selection from the gallery's collection. The size and ongoing upkeep of the collection was significant which caused the collection to be moved several times over the years. The collection which out of necessity was originally stored in Ealey's Southwest Washington apartment then moved a to a house in LeDroit Park and then to another space in the Washington neighborhood of Fort Lincoln. Ealey collaborated with colleagues and institutions to have it exhibited in various locations but also bid to find the collection a permanent home. During the 1970s, the collection was featured at the Museum of Afro-American Culture and History in Philadelphia, the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum (now the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum) and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Unable to find an institutional home for the collection, Ealey was forced to sell the collection in 1989 to the Florida Endowment Fund for Higher Education. Ealey stipulated that collection must remain intact but also that the new owners had to develop educational and outreach programs focused on African Americans in the arts. Failing to find consistent opportunities to exhibit the collection, the owners were forced to sell the collection. In 1998, Robert L. Johnson, then chairman and founder of the television channel, Black Entertainment Television (BET), purchased the collection. The collection went on a national tour then was displayed for some time at the BET headquarters in Washington. In 2015, Johnson donated selections from the gallery collection to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in an effort to preserve the legacy of the Barnett-Aden Gallery and the tireless work of James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden for generations to come.
1897 -- James Vernon Herring was born January 7 in Clio, South Carolina.
1906 -- Alonzo James Aden was born May 6 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
1914-1916 -- While attending Syracuse University, Herring taught summer classes at Wilberforce University in Ohio for two summers.
1917 -- Herring graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelors of Pedagogy in Art degree.
1917-1920 -- Herring served as YMCA secretary for the YMCA in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and then Camp Lee, Virginia. Herring also held teaching positions at Straight College in New Orleans and Bennett College in North Carolina
1920 -- Alonzo was sent to Washington, D.C. to live with his uncle, James Aden, and his wife Laura.
1921 -- Herring was initially hired as architectural drawing instructor at Howard University and after negotiations established Department of Art later that same year.
1927 -- Herring organized an exhibition of Howard U. students' artwork that toured the Deep South U.S. Aden enrolled in Howard University in pursuit of an education degree.
1930 -- The Howard University Gallery of Art formally opened on April 7. Aden was hired as gallery assistant.
1933 -- Aden received his Bachelor of Arts in Education; Herring added Aden's name as co-owner of the 127 Randolph Place home.
1934-1939 -- Aden engaged in post-graduate study and museum curatorial work around the U.S. and Europe.
1940 -- Aden served as art curator for the American Negro Exposition (the "Negro's World Fair") in Chicago
1943 -- Aden resigned his position at the Howard University Gallery of Art for undisclosed reasons. The Barnett-Aden Gallery was founded by James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden. The first exhibition, "American Paintings for the Home" featured Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Malvin Gray Johnson, James Lesesne Wells, Jacob Lawrence, and many others.
1944 -- First anniversary exhibition featuring artist Candido Portinari, Brazilian artist who was already known in Washington from his mural for the Library of Congress. It was attended by the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Exhibition, "The Negro in Art" and "American Paintings for the Home" featuring Catlett, James A. Porter, Wells, Jones, Richmond Barthé, Hale Woodruff, Betsy Graves Reyneau and others.
1946 -- Exhibition, "Paintings by Lois Mailou Jones" and featured paintings of Jacob Lawrence for Third Anniversary exhibition.
1947 -- Fourth Anniversary Exhibition, "Recent Paintings by Charles White". Exhibition of Elizabeth Catlett, "Paintings, Sculpture, and Prints of The Negro Woman".
1948 -- Exhibition, "Paintings and Drawings by James A. Porter".
1949 -- Exhibition, "Sylvia Carewe".
1950 -- "Exhibition of Six Washington Artists" featuring Romare Bearden, Samuel Bookatz, Bernice Cross, Robert Gates, Norma Mazo, and James A. Porter. "Exhibition "Paintings and Prints by James Lesesne Wells."
1951 -- Exhibition, "Three Washington Artists" featuring Richard Dempsey, Sam Herman, and Jack Perlmutter Exhibition, "Herman Maril: Paintings in Retrospect, 1931-1951"
1953 -- Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, "Eighteen Washington Artists" featuring Sarah Baker, Samuel Bookatz, William Calfee, Bernice Cross, Robert Franklin Gates, Jacob Kainen, Marjorie Phillips, James Porter, and James Lesesne Wells.
1954 -- Exhibition "Six Washington Painters" featuring Theresa Abbott, Gabriel Cherin, Gloria Besser Green, Alma W. Thomas, and Anita Wertheim.
1955 -- Twelfth anniversary exhibition focused on "Jack Perlmutter".
1957 -- Exhibition, "David C. Driskell: Exhibition of Paintings"
1958 -- Exhibition "Norman Lewis: Paintings"
1959 -- Sixteenth Anniversary Exhibition of "Paintings by Pietro Lazzari, Helen Rennie, Alma Thomas, Andrea De Zerega". Exhibition of "Religious Paintings and Prints by James L. Wells and Sculpture by Selma Burke"
1962 -- Alonzo Aden died suddenly at the age of 56 on October 13 in Washington D.C. Herring solely inherits the Gallery collection.
1969 -- Herring dies at age 84 in Washington, DC. on May 29. Artist Adolphus Ealey inherits the bulk of the gallery collection along with Dr. Felton J. Earls and Dr. and Mrs. Cecil Marquez.
1974 -- Two exhibitions of the collection at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
1989 -- Collection sold to Florida Endowment Fund for Higher Education.
1998 -- Robert Johnson, founder and former CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET) purchased the entire collection and serves as administrators over the collection.
Acquired through a purchase by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Collection is open for research. Access to collection materials requires an appointment.
The NMAAHC Archives can provide reproductions of some materials for research and educational use. Copyright and right to publicity restrictions apply and limit reproduction for other purposes.