Living Art: The Life of Paul R. Jones, African American Art Collector

Living Art: The Life of Paul R. Jones, African American Art Collector

Living Art: The Life of Paul R. Jones, African American Art Collector

Living Art: The Life of Paul R. Jones, African American Art Collector

Synopsis

This is a life history of one of the leading collectors of African American art. The book chronicles the life of a man who grew up during the height of the Jim Crow segregation in Alabama and became one of the nation's leading collectors of African American art. His vision is to make African American art an integral part of American art. This book chronicles his life and his gift of a substantial part of the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American art to the University of Delaware.

Excerpt

How did an African American man, raised in the racially segregated South in the 1920s and 1930s, come to have one of the nation’s largest collections of African American art? Paul R. Jones, identified as one of the nation’s top 100 collectors (one of only two African Americans so designated), is in many respects an ordinary man. He was raised in the company steel town of Muscoda in Bessemer, Alabama. over the course of his lifetime, he worked as a civil rights mediator, as a community relations specialist, as a federal staff appointee in the Peace corps, and, ultimately, as a member of the infamous committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP)—one of the most influential African Americans in the Nixon administration.

Paul Jones was not born wealthy. For most of his life, he lived comfortably on a modest income. certainly, he did not grow up with the wealth one typically associates with major collectors of art. with modest resources, but a generous vision, Paul Jones collected over two thousand works of art, a project to which he has devoted more than forty years of his life. Much of his art I />University of Alabama. the Paul R. Jones collection of African American Art includes the works of some now identified as “masters,” others now well known in the field of art, and still others whose mature work is not so well known, but who caught Paul Jones’s eye and are part of the legacy of expression that this collection captures.

We first met Paul Jones when Margaret Andersen was dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Delaware and Neil Thomas was senior editorial coordinator working with national media in the University’s Office of Public Relations. the University had earlier sponsored an exhibition of paintings from Paul Jones’s collection and was planning another—now the most widely traveled exhibition from the University, the P. H. Polk photographic . . .

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