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Works on Paper by African Americans: The Growth of the National Gallery of Art Collection

Ruth Fine, curator of special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art. To coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday weekend, Ruth Fine describes the history and growth of the collection of works on paper by African American artists at the National Gallery of Art in this podcast recorded on January 16, 2011. The Gallery owns approximately 70,000 prints and 30,000 drawings, all of which have been acquired by donation or purchased with donated funds. The Gallery, which opened to the public in 1941, acquired its first works by African American artists in 1943, which is the starting point of Fine's presentation. She tracks the collection's riches by the chronological order in which the drawings and prints entered the collection. The earliest of them are Edward Loper's contributions to the Index of American Design, acquired in 1943, with the most recent being Norma Gloria Morgan's etching and aquatint Turning Forms, added in 2010. Throughout the lecture, Fine suggests the unique ability of works on paper to reveal much about an artist's thought processes.