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UT Austin Receives Significant Collection of Works By WPA Artist Charles White

Charles White's Homage to Sterling Brown” (1972). COURTESY AUSTIN 360

Charles White, Homage to Sterling Brown, 1972.

Today brought word that Drs. Susan G. and Edmund W. Gordon of Pomona, New York have donated their collection of works by draftsman, printmaker, and painter Charles White to the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin.

White is historically grouped with other artists commissioned by the FDR’s New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA) to create paintings, posters, and murals,  and, as a release notes, “a keen observer of the black community.”

The Gordons’ White collection, spanning thirty years of the artist’s career, is one of the largest in the U.S., and is comprised of drawings, prints, an etched silver plate, and a major painting. Most notably, the collection includes White’s portrait of poet, critic, and Howard University professor Sterling Brown, his famous drawing Awaken from the Unknowing, and a 1954 charcoal drawing of Sojourner Truth and Moses.

Awaken From The Unknowing (1961).

Awaken From The Unknowing, 1961.

Dr. Edmund Gordon said in a statement, “Susan and I have chosen the Blanton and The University of Texas at Austin as the repository for the Gordon Collection of Graphic Art by Charles W. White in order to advance the intellectual legacy of this great American artist, to protect this collection of some of his finest works of art and to ensure public access to White’s legacy and exemplars of his work in perpetuity.”

He then added, “To achieve these purposes while our son Dr. Edmund ‘Ted’ Gordon leads the African and African Diaspora Studies Department is a delightful bonus for the Gordon family. This coincidence would have been greatly appreciated by Charlie and Fran White.”

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