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Honoring Black Art: A Pioneering Collection from Richmond Barthé and Samella Lewis”

black art history

Discover the groundbreaking collaborative collection of Richmond Barthé and Samella Lewis, a testament to black art history, presented for sale by Unity Lewis through Art For Us By Us.

The art world is abuzz with the groundbreaking sale of the Honorary Black Art Collection, featuring the collaborative works of Richmond Barthé and Samella Lewis. Facilitated by Unity Lewis, the grandson of Samella Lewis, and the innovative online platform Art For Us By Us, this sale marks the first time these works are exhibited as a collaborative collection, offering a unique insight into the rich tapestry of black art history.

Richmond Barthé, born on January 28, 1901, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, was a sculptor whose career spanned over sixty years, deeply influencing the Harlem Renaissance with his bronze sculptures. These pieces, inspired by themes of religion, sexuality, and race, date back to 1929 when Barthé moved to New York City. His work, a response to the traumas faced by the black community, also uniquely included LGBTQ+ perspectives, a rarity for the era. Barthé’s distinctive style, particularly his inclusion of the black male nude in sculpture, set him apart from his contemporaries.

Samella Lewis, an artist, art historian, and close friend of Barthé, played a pivotal role in recasting these bronze sculptures. In 2009, she published “Barthé: His Life in Art,” reflecting on his unique métier. Lewis, a towering figure in African American art and history, is revered for her diverse art collection encompassing African American, Asian, Caribbean, Native American, South American, and African Arts. Her role as a social and community activist positions her as a reference point for future generations.

The full collection, a testament to the rich and diverse narratives of black art, is available for viewing at Exclusive studio visits in Los Angeles can be arranged through the website or directly via email ([email protected]).

Richmond Barthé’s bronze sculptures are a window into his early artistic themes upon arriving in New York City. His contributions to the Harlem Renaissance are significant, marking him as one of the first self-established African American artists in the city during this era. His work was even featured in Pennsylvania Academy’s 1943 annual exhibition.

Samella Lewis, often referred to as the “godmother of Black art,” showcases themes in her works that affirm this title. As the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in fine arts, Lewis has significantly impacted the black art community. She co-founded the Museum of African American Art in Los Angeles in 1976 and established the International Review of African American Art, creating a space for black artists to showcase their work. Her use of rich tones, angular shapes, and a variety of mediums contributes to the diversity and uniqueness of her extensive collection.

Leah Hornsby, a student at The New School (Eugene Lang) majoring in Visual Studies, plays a vital role in this historic sale. As a gallery assistant at Shelter Gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and a participant in the Bachelor’s Master’s Program in Curatorial Studies and the History of Design, Leah is committed to expanding opportunities and creating exposure for artists of color. Art For Us By Us, through advertisement and exhibition opportunities, provides a platform for non-white creators, further enriching the cultural and artistic landscape.

This sale not only celebrates the legacy of Richmond Barthé and Samella Lewis but also signifies a momentous occasion in the history of black art, offering collectors and art enthusiasts a chance to own a piece of this rich heritage.


Link into the website –


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