The Brooklyn Museum Library collection has recently been enriched with the donation of several rare items of African American art given by Camille and Luther Clark. This donation is one of many in response to the Museum’s collecting initiative that began in 2010 to focus on collecting art by African American artists who worked between the mid-nineteenth century and pre-contemporary times. To parallel the growth of the art collection, the Museum Library has tried to increase its holdings on African American artists and this recent donation is an excellent addition to the research collection.
Fifty books, periodical articles and other primary documents have been received from this major donation and several items are now featured in the Library Display Cases at the entrance of the Museum Library. On display are rare books such as the catalog for the seminal exhibition entitled The Negro artist comes of age; a national survey of contemporary American artists which was held at the Brooklyn Museum in 1945. According to the Brooklyn Museum Bulletin (November 1945, No. 2), the exhibition consisted of fifty-three paintings and nine sculptures “by the leading young Negro artists of the United States. A few of these, such as Jacob Lawrence and Horace Pippin, have been widely shown but the work of the large majority is only now beginning to be recognized as an integral segment of our native art.”
The Camille and Luther Clark donation has greatly enhanced the Brooklyn Museum Library’s documentation on African American art and we are honored to have these important research materials here.
Deirdre Lawrence has been the Principal Librarian at the Brooklyn Museum since late 1983. Before coming to the Brooklyn Museum, she was Associate Librarian at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She received her M. L. S. from Pratt Institute in 1979 and has studied art history on the graduate level. At the Brooklyn Museum she has established the Museum Archives and implemented many projects to preserve and make accessible the research collections. Deirdre has overseen a major renovation project, implementation of an online catalog and several collaborative projects with other libraries. She has written articles on the collections and lectured frequently on the research collections held in the Libraries and Archives as well as Brooklyn Museum history. Deirdre has curated several exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum and elsewhere. She is a visiting professor at Pratt’s School of Information and Library Science and serves as a board member at the Center for Book Arts in New York.