A NUMBER OF ART PATRONS boast impressive collections of African American art. Peggy Cooper Cafritz is probably the loan collector in the category who has assembled two.

Over the course of 20-plus years, Cafritz acquired more than 300 works by artists such as Barkley L. Hendricks, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Yinka Shonibare, and Kara Walker. In July 2009, the collection was destroyed by fire when her 15,000-square-foot home in Northwest Washington, D.C., burned to the ground.

Devastated, it took some time, but Cafritz soon began to collect again. Her new holdings include works by some of the contemporary masters in her original collection, but this time around her choices are skewed toward young rising stars and up-and-coming artists.

Her new holdings include works by some of the contemporary masters in her original collection, but this time around her choices are skewed toward young rising stars and up-and-coming artists.

The co-founder of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Cafritz has published, “Fired Up! Ready to Go! Finding Beauty, Demanding Equity: An African American Life in Art. The Collections of Peggy Cooper Cafritz” a fully illustrated volume about her life, the collection she lost, and the new one she is building. I reviewed the new tome for The Washington Post, writing in part:

“In many ways, this book is a portrait of Cafritz, 70, drawn with her own words, the choices in her collection and insights from some of the most prominent figures in African American art, who are also her longtime friends.” CT

 

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BOOKSHELF
“Fired Up! Ready to Go! Finding Beauty, Demanding Equity: An African American Life in Art. The Collections of Peggy Cooper Cafritz” features contributions by Simone Leigh, Kerry James Marshall, Uri McMillan, Jack Shainman, Hank Willis Thomas, and an interview with Cafritz conducted by Thelma Golden.

 

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