Gilcrease brings landmark African-American art collection to Tulsa

Self Determination
Claude Clark, Self Determination, 1969, oil on board. Photograph by Reis Birdwhistle.

Tulsa World
James D. Watts

Over the past 35 years, Kerry and C. Betty Davis have worked to fill their Atlanta home with more than 400 works by African-American artists.

The couple’s collection includes pieces by such well-known artists as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Elizabeth Catlett, alongside paintings and sculptures by up-and-coming young artists.

Now, an exhibit drawn from the Davis collection will go on display for the first time, as Gilcrease Museum hosts “Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art.”

The exhibit will feature 62 works from the couple’s collection, which cover about a century of artistic expression, from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s to the present day. It was organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

“We have worked with this company in the past, and this exhibit first caught our eye about two and a half years ago,” said Laura Fry, senior curator and curator of art at Gilcrease Museum.