Arts

“Awakened in You”: The Collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton opens at PAFA

(Attributed to May Howard Jackson (1877–1931)Slave Boy,1899Bronze, 17 x 12 x 9 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.66 // Photo by Candis R. McLean)

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) recently opened an awe-inspiring exhibit “Awakened in You”: The Collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton. The exhibit features over 70 works of art by renowned African American artists. Assembled from the personal collection of Philadelphia educator and arts advocate Dr. Constance E. Clayton, this mesmerizing exhibit notably illustrates the African American experience and signifies the true essence of art; that it should be felt.

(“Awakened in You:” The Collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton // Photo by Candis R. McLean)

The artistic showcase traverses three galleries in PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building and spans more than a century of art history. Emboldening PAFA’s commitment to collecting and exhibiting African American art, the famed institution has once again illustrated its attentiveness to showing the complete landscape of the African American journey. “Awakened in You”  features the work of Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence, Augusta Savage, PAFA alumni such as Barkley L. Hendricks, Henry O. Tanner, and Laura Wheeler Waring, Charles White, and more. There are also eighteen artists, in “Awakened in You”, that will be shown at PAFA for the very first time.

(Left)-Attributed to May Howard Jackson (1877–1931)Slave Boy,1899Bronze, 17 x 12 x 9 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.66// (Middle)-Augusta Savage (1892–1962)Gamin,n.d.Plaster, 9 1/2 x 4 x 5 1/2 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.38 // (Right)-Richmond Barthé (1901–1989)Head of a Dancer (Harald Kreutzberg),c. 1940Cast bronze, 14 x 7 x 7 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.3 // Photo by Candis R. McLean)

(Left)-Laura Wheeler Waring (1887–1948)The Study of a Student,c. 1940Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.69 // (Right)-Edward Bannister (1828–1901)Untitled (landscape with water and sailboat),1885Oil on canvas, 14 3/4 x 23 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.2 // Photo by Candis R. McLean)

When viewing the exhibit you will not only experience a breathtaking display of regional storytelling but a celebration of family and tradition. Several of the assembled works of art are the result of a true labor of love between Dr. Clayton and her mother, Mrs. Williabell Clayton. Their impressive collection highlights the diversity, spectrum, and complexity that encompasses the lives of African Americans. Illustrations of Black families, celebrations, sceneries, labor, and artistry can all be found throughout this artistic showcase. “Awakened in You” not only shines a light on cultural identity but also affirms the beauty that can unfold when you allow people to depict their own stories and histories.

(Bessie Ruth Bridges [Street scene],n.d.Screenprint, 14 3/4 x 17 1/2 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.5 // Photo by Candis R. McLean)

(Edward L. Loper (1916–2011)Backyard Landscape,1948Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.37  // Photo by Candis R. McLean)

Another remarkable essence of the showcase is the gift of mentorship. The exhibition features several educators and artists who have influenced each other. From esteemed PAFA alums to other impactful fixtures in the global art scene, there is a lineage of style, vision, and tradition that connects this community of talented artisans. In “Awakened in You”, art lovers will not only see the legacy that paved the way for the next generation but also the extraordinary creatives who inspired them.

(Laura Wheeler Waring (1887–1948)Four Friends,c. 1940Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in. Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton, 2019.3.68 // Photo by Candis R. McLean)

(Dr. Constance E. Clayton photographed with her mother, Williabell Clayton)

Admission ticket pricing for adults (ages 8 and up) is $15, $12 for seniors (ages 60 and up) and students, $8 for youth (ages 13-18), and children ages 12 and under are free. There is also free admission for students of local universities and military family members.

Museum Hours

Tuesday–Friday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

 


You can follow Candis McLean on Twitter (@CandisRMcLean) and e-mail her at candis.mclean@gmail.com.

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