Vessel, 2012, Radcliffe Bailey (American, born 1968), tarp, thread, idron, vintage model ship, African sculpture, wicker basket, glass. Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr. Fund for 21st Century Art and National Endowment for the Arts Fund for American Art. 2014.5 © Radcliffe Bailey
Ngady amwaash Mask,19th-20th c., Kuba culture Democratic Republic of Congo, wood, paint, cloth, cowrie shells, glass beads, string. Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund, 87.83
Catfish Row, 1947, Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917-2000), egg tempura on hardboard. J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art, 2013.228 ©Jacob Lawrence
New Brockton, Alabama, 1968, Chester Higgins, American (born 1946), gelatin silver print. National Endowment for the Arts Fund for American Art, 2013.181 © Chester Higgins, Jr.
Chimneys, 1951, Benjamin Wigfall (American, 1930-2017), oil on canvas. 51.7.5 © Benjamin Wigfall
Three Folk Musicians, 1967, Romare Bearden (American, 1911-1988), collage of various papers with paint and graphite on canvas. 2016.336 ©Romare Bearden

More than a Month at VMFA

This February, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has lined up an eclectic mix of programs that recognize and celebrate Black History Month. From talks by noted African American artists such as Chester Higgins and updates on the museum’s important conservation work on objects in the African collection to performances by black singers and musicians such as Desiree Roots and Claves Unidos, VMFA is taking a broad and comprehensive look at the contributions of African and African American artists.

It’s important to note, however, that at VMFA, attention to and celebration of African and African American art and culture is not confined to one short month. Since 2015, the museum has been committed to reaching and serving diverse audiences, particularly African Americans, as part of its five-year strategic plan.

This photo gallery shows just a handful of works by African and African American artists that visitors can encounter in the galleries during Black History Month and beyond!

The Black Photographer’s Annual

Mildred Hansen Baker, 1937, printed 1981, Prentice Herman Polk (American, 1898–1984), gelatin silver print on AGFA paper. Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund, 2016.594.6

From 2016 to 2019, a series of four rotations will explore four separate volumes of the Black Photographers Annual, which was published between 1973 and 1980. Photographs by P.H. Polk and Chester Higgins are currently on view in Like a Study in Black History: P. H. Polk, Chester Higgins & The Black Photographers Annual, Volume 2. Works by Anthony Barboza, Roy DeCarava, LeRoy Henderson, Beuford Smith, Ming Smith, James VanDerZee, and others are included in other installations. All four volumes have also been digitized and can be found here.

The Black Photographers Annual, Volume 2

Art 365

Explore African American Art at VMFA.

Interior: Two Chairs and a Fireplace, 2011, Mickalene Thomas (American, born 1971), acrylic and oil enamel with rhinestones on panel. Gift of Pamela K. and William A. Royall, Jr., 2014.371 © Mickalene Thomas
Old Uncle Buck, 2002, Thornton Dial (American, 1928–2016), carpet, oil, enamel, spray paint, and Splash Zone compound on canvas on wood. Gift of Pamela K. and William A. Royall, Jr., 2015.367 © Thornton Dial
The Former and the Ladder or Ascension and a Cinchin’, 2012, Trenton Doyle Hancock (American, born 1974), acrylic and mixed media on canvas. Sydney and Francis Lewis Endowment Fund and Pamela K. and William A. Royall, Jr. Fund for 21st Century Art with funds contributed by Mary and Don Shockey Jr. and Marion Boulton Stroud, 2013.3 © Trenton Doyle Hancock
Sisters (Susan and Toni), 1977, Barkley L. Hendricks (American, 1945–2017), Funds contributed by Mary and Donald Shockey, Jr., 2010.70 © Barkley L. Hendricks
Chrysanthemums, ca. 1881, Charles Ethan Porter (American, 1847–1923), oil on canvas. John Barton Payne Fund, 2013.203