The West Coast Chapter of the Society for the History of Collecting

invites you to its online lecture

The Howard University Art Gallery: Collecting the New Deal

Prof. Betsy Fahlman

1 October 2021, 12 noon, PST; 8 PM BST

To register for this event please email:


In 1943, Fort Huachuca, an army base in remote southeastern Arizona, was the unlikely site of a large exhibition of African-American artists which displayed eighty-six works by thirty-seven artists, all work created under the sponsorship of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. This exhibit was part of a morale-building effort by a post commander, aided by Arizona artist, Lew Davis, who had created a mural celebrating African-American participation in five historic American wars for what was then called “The Black Officer’s Club.” The ambitious exhibition was planned to be a permanent feature. But the base was deactivated in 1947 and the art dispersed, with the best of some forty paintings and one sculpture going to Howard University, works perfectly aligned with Howard’s educational mission as one of the leading members of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

Betsy Fahlman is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University and Adjunct Curator of American Art at the Phoenix Art Museum. She  wrote Landscapes of Extraction: The Art of Mining in the American West (2021), Kraushaar Galleries: Celebrating 125 Years (2010), New Deal Art in Arizona (2009), Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth’s Late Paintings of Lancaster (2007), James Graham & Sons: A Century and a Half in the Art Business (2007), Guy Pène du Bois: Painter of Modern Life (2004), The Cowboy’s Dream: The Mythic Life and Art of Lon Megargee (2002), and John Ferguson Weir: The Labor of Art (1997). She has published extensively on the relationship between American art and industry and on artists Ellen Emmet Rand, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Marguerite Zorach, Robert Winthrop Chanler, and Joseph Pennell.

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Archibald Motley, Saturday Night, 1935, o/c, 32 x 40”, Howard University Gallery of Art      

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