Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection

Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection

Members of the advisory committee for the Samella Lewis contemporary art collection met in March 2008 as part of their twice-annual collaboration to consider proposed donations to the collection and to make recommendations to the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery’s advisory council.

The Samella Lewis art collection was inspired by discussions between Fletcher Jones Professor of Studio Art Susan Rankaitis and artist Alison Saar ’78. Working with Director of Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery Mary Davis MacNaughton ’70, they began a collection for Scripps in honor of Samella Lewis — artist, art historian, curator, editor, and professor of art at Scripps from 1969 to 1984. Dr. Lewis wrote the first textbook on African American art history, as well as monographs on leading artists Elizabeth Catlett and Richmond Barthé.

The College’s goal is to acquire works by Dr. Lewis and other significant contemporary artists, with a special, though not exclusive, focus on art by women and African American artists. The Samella Lewis collection has grown rapidly, with prints and drawings by John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Sue Coe, Samella Lewis, Nancy Macko, Dominique Moody, Adrian Piper, Faith Ringgold, Alison Saar, Elizabeth Turk; paintings and mixed-media works by Jane Park Wells, John Orlovski, and Susan Rankaitis; and photographs by Eileen Cowin, Anthony Friedkin, Robbert Flick, George Hurrell, Leslie Sokolow, Carrie Mae Weems, and Max Yavno.

Scripps is grateful to the generous donors who have contributed works: Francine Farr ’76, Samella Lewis, Stella and Harry Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Grant Robbins, Alison Saar, and the Yarema Family Trust.


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