Established in 1928 by action of the Board of Trustees to “make revolving exhibitions of contemporary arts and crafts available for visitation and study to students,” the Howard University Gallery of Art was formally opened with a traveling exhibition of oil paintings, water colors, and drawings assembled and circulated by the College Art Association of America in 1930.
After the success of this exhibition, a policy and program leading to the development of a permanent collection was adopted. James V. Herring, founder of the Department of Art, and James A. Porter, internationally renowned art historian and critic, were the earliest directors.
Henry O. Tanner’s Return from the Crucifixion, an oil tempera painting, was one of the earliest acquisitions and is still a jewel of the collection. Since then, the permanent collection has grown to include African artifacts, Renaissance and Baroque paintings and European prints from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
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