The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has received 54 artworks from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a nonprofit that archives and exhibits work by American self-taught artists. Included in the purchase and gift are 11 quilts from Gee’s Bend as well as 33 pieces by black artists, among them Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, and Ronald Lockett.
The acquisition was overseen by the museum’s rapidly expanding folk and self-taught art department, which, in 2014, received a $2.5 million gift from Dan and Merrie Boone. Since then, the department has brought 177 objects into the museum. Some of the Souls Grown Deep works will be on view when the High reinstalls its permanent collection next year.
“When we unveil works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in our expanded galleries it will be a defining moment that makes undeniable the magnitude of achievement that has been realized by artists here in the South, regardless of their level of training,” Katherine Jentleson, a curator in the folk and self-taught art department, said in a statement. “This is art that breaks boundaries and defies expectations, challenging long-held assumptions about where great art comes from and whom we acknowledge as the leading artists of our time.”