The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper

One of the most comprehensive shows of works by Black American artists

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The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper highlights the importance of 19th, 20th, and 21st century Black artists, including Ron Adams, Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, John Biggers, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Eldizer Cortor, Margaret Burroughs.

Explore the history of Black art in America through the themes, styles, and subjects interpreted by the artists, and influenced by their personal experiences, world-view, and innovative techniques.

The Kelleys have filled a void in the art world: the power of the individual black collector to increase the value and influence of black art.Jan Jarboe Russell, Texas Monthly (September 1996)

In 1986 Harmon and Harriet Kelley attended their first exhibition of African American art at their local museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art. A transformative visit, it was the first time they encountered an entire exhibition built around the works of African American artists, art that reflected them and their experience.

The Kelleys vowed to learn more and teach others about the beauty, poignancy, and importance of African American artists. They began collecting to help their children gain a deeper appreciation as well, initially building the collection on oil paintings and sculptures only, but soon expanding to works on paper. One of the most outstanding collections in the country, the Kelleys have brought together artistry that highlights the rich and powerful visual representation of our cultural heritage.

Inside the Exhibition

Showcased are intimate drawings, turn of the century watercolors, pastels, bright abstract acrylics, gouaches, and mixed media works. Etchings, lithographs, linoleum cuts, and silkscreens represent artists who worked from the early 20th century to our days. Pivotal moments in the history of African American art are represented:

  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • The Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project
  • Civil Rights Movement and Negro Art Movement
  • Regionalism
  • International Contemporary art world


Use the Look and Discover pages to help young visitors uncover more about the artworks, artists, and historic facts found through the exhibition gallery.

The exhibition The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

Sponsored by the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hall Fund.

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a division of the State Preservation Board. Additional support of exhibitions and programs is provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.