Zenith Gallery est 1978
Press Release

Freedom Place Collection

Presented by Zenith Community Arts Foundation (ZCAF
Tues – Fri: 11am to 6 pm, Sat: noon to 7 pm, Sun: noon to 5 pm

 Benny Andrews    Romare Bearden    Robert Freeman    Alma Thomas    Richard Yard

September 6 – 30, 2007

"Memories of High Cotton" by Romare Bearden

The prominent artists whose work is represented in The Freedom Place Collection are separated artistically by the individuality of their creativity and process, yet linked by the African-American experience and heritage, a powerful wellspring of inspiration that has uniquely nurtured and enriched their art.

Benny Andrews, born in rural Georgia during the Depression (1930), tells stories about people, places and things in a style ranging from caricature to fully realized paintings.  His work is exhibited and collected by major museums here and abroad. 

One of America’s pre-eminent artists, Romare Bearden (1912-1988) was a draftsman, painter, water-colorist and, most notably, a collagist.  Born in North Carolina, and raised in Pittsburgh and New York’s Harlem, Bearden worked in various styles, including cartoon and drawing, social genre, modernism, abstract expressionism and photo-collage.  The Freedom Collection includes some of Bearden’s most innovative and expressionistic works.  Created between 1970 and 1985, they embody the characteristic subjects and motifs that occupied his imagination over a 40-year period. The recipient of many honors, Bearden received the National Medal of Arts in 1987.  His works are in distinguished public and private collections throughout the United States.

Robert Freeman (b.1939) is much admired for his figurative work depicting well-heeled African-Americans at sophisticated gatherings, and his restful landscapes.  The Boston-based artist has exhibited extensively and is widely collected in the Northeast. 

Alma Thomas (1891-1978) had her first one-woman show at age 68, and went on to have retrospectives at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Art and the Whitney Museum, where she was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition. Raised in Columbus, Georgia, she moved to Washington DC at a young age, where she lived for 71 years.  She is best-known for her large, mosaic-like canvases, filled with dense, irregular patterns and bright colors.

The images of the brilliant watercolorist Richard Yarde (b.1939) range from evocative to lyrical portrait studies and complex, figurative compositions.  Boston-bred, his works reflect city and African-American city dwellers, as well as famous black personalities.  His paintings are in many prestigious institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

The Freedom Place Collection is owned by Washington residents Stuart Bloch and Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, who started collecting African-American Artists 35 years ago while living in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The Blochs are sponsoring the ZCAF exhibition.

The Zenith Community Arts Foundation (ZCAF), established by Margery E. Goldberg in 2000, is the non-profit division of Goldberg’s Zenith Gallery, recognized nationally and internationally for 29 years for its unique selection of abstract, contemporary and realism artworks in sculpture, painting, photography, neon art and contemporary crafts. Created to further Goldberg’s vision of artistic and community activism, ZCAF is committed to arts advocacy, collaboration and using art to benefit community.  Among ZCAF’s most successful projects is its annual Food Glorious Food calendar with associated Giglée prints, which have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Capital Area Food Bank. 


Press Contact:  Judith Keyserling, 202-726-1627, jkeyserling@verizon.net



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