“Awakened In You”: The Collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton

Exhibition Info
Historic Landmark Building
Curators
Dr. David Brigham, CEO & President
Brooke Davis Anderson
Sarah Spencer
A gift of seventy-six works by African American artists from the collection of American educator and arts advocate, Constance E. Clayton.

In March 2019, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) received a gift of seventy-six works by African American artists from the collection of American educator and arts advocate Constance E. Clayton.

Throughout her career, Dr. Constance E. Clayton implemented her platform not only to further educational opportunities for students but also to highlight African American artists and their contributions to the wider scope of American Art history. As an educator, Dr. Clayton saw the importance of arts and culture in the lives of children. Her passion for the arts turned towards advocacy, through which Dr. Clayton committed herself to further the presence of artists and scholars of color within art institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), and now, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Much like Dr. Clayton, the artists in this collection have created legacies of their own, a series of visual remnants that document the multifaceted African American experience and contributions to the canon of art history.

The collection consists primarily of paintings and works on paper dating from the late nineteenth to twentieth centuries. There are also sculptures by Richmond Barthé, Augusta Savage, and one attributed to May Howard Jackson. The gift also includes several works by PAFA alumni such as Barkley L. Hendricks, Henry O. Tanner, Laura Wheeler Waring and many more.  

In keeping with PAFA's history and ongoing commitment to collecting and exhibiting African American art, the exhibition will allow museum audiences to experience the entire arc of African American art history in the galleries at PAFA. This exhibition is in honor of Dr. Clayton’s mother, Willabell Harris (1910 – 2004).

Select Featured Works

Laura Wheeler Waring, The Study of a Student, ca. 1940s
Laura Wheeler Waring, The Study of a Student, ca. 1940s
Claude Clark, Men and Drill Press, 1941
Claude Clark, Men and Drill Press, 1941
Romare Bearden, Odysseus Leaves Nausicaa, Odyssey Series, 1979
Romare Bearden, Odysseus Leaves Nausicaa, Odyssey Series, 1979
Barkley L. Hendricks, [Head of boy], ca. 1967
Barkley L. Hendricks, [Head of boy], ca. 1967
William Henry Johnson, Folk Family, 1939 – 40
William Henry Johnson, Folk Family, 1939 – 40

Exhibition Support

Bank of America Logo“Awakened In You”: The Dr. Constance E. Clayton Collection is made possible by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by the Clayton Exhibition Host Committee.

Special Exhibitions are generously supported by Emily and Mike Cavanagh, Jonathan L. Cohen, Ro and Martin King, Robert E. Kohler and Frances Coulborn Kohler, Maggie and Brien Murphy, and Dorothy and Ken Woodcock. Additional support is provided the PAFA Annual Exhibition Fund.

Contemporary Exhibitions are generously supported by Laura and Richard Vague. Additional support is provided by Ralph Citino and Lawrence Taylor, Howard Sacks and Vesna Todorović Sacks, and an anonymous donor.

Historic Exhibitions are generously supported by The Templeton Family.

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