Sam Gilliam (b. 1933), Transfer #2 (detail), 2009, acrylic with collage. © Sam Gilliam. Image license courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery. Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African-American Art



June 2 through September 1, 2019

Scheller and Fowler Galleries

This exhibition presents sixty-five pieces from the esteemed Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African-American Art, including more than forty works new to the collection and on view for the first time. Spanning the late nineteenth century to the current decade, the show features work by such celebrated artists as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles White, and Elizabeth Catlett. Simultaneously, it heralds groundbreaking contemporary artists like Vanessa German, William Villalongo, and Syd Carpenter. With paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photographs, this selection gives a sense of the broad range of powerful and sensitive artwork made by artists of the African diaspora over more than a century. From realism to abstraction, with humor, grace, and pathos, the works in this exhibition sample this important private collection built in the last six years under the direction of curator Berrisford Boothe.

Founded in 2006, the Petrucci Family Foundation (PFF) actively responds to the needs of the communities it serves, with the mission of supporting education and creating opportunity for Americans at every stage of and station of life. The PFF Collection of African-American Art is a targeted initiative to bring focus to the full range of African-American visual creativity and its essential place in the history and discourse of American art. This important collection, the result of a partnership between Lehigh University professor Berrisford Boothe and regional real-estate developer Jim Petrucci, has received national attention following its exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art in 2017.

An Essential Presence is supported through the generosity of the Petrucci Family Foundation.


The Museum’s exhibition program is supported by the Harry C. Trexler Trust, Julius and Katheryn Hommer Foundation, The Century Fund, Bernard and Audrey Berman Foundation, Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment, Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Friends of the Museum.