|Art lovers Larry and Brenda Thompson have collected more than 600 works of art over the past 30-40 years.|
Couple donates 100 works by Black artists
Published: January 6, 2012
GREENWICH -- A Greenwich couple who amassed one of the nation's major private collections of African-American art is donating 100 works to the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.
Larry and Brenda Thompson also will fund a new curatorial position at the museum, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which first reported the plans.
The couple's contributions are "transformative" for the official state art museum of Georgia, museum board Chairman Carl Mullis said.
"It is truly an amazing gift to the museum, to the University of Georgia and to all the people of Georgia," Mullis said.
The donations include pieces by Hale Woodruff, Beauford Delaney, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Wadsworth Jarrell and Radcliffe Bailey.
Larry Thompson, a former U.S. deputy attorney general based in Atlanta and retired general counsel and secretary for PepsiCo, lived in Georgia for 30 years. His wife is a retired Atlanta Public Schools clinical school psychologist. They have spent recent years living in Greenwich.
The Thompsons said they were both moved by a comment an African-American high school student made after viewing the nationally touring exhibit from their collection, "Tradition Redefined."
"They always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, that I could be an artist," the student wrote in the feedback book at the University of Maryland's David C. Driskell Center. "But no one ever told me I could create the kind of art I wanted to create."
The collection represented freedom to the student, Brenda Thompson said.
"We hope other students -- black, white or whatever -- will see the work and get that same feeling:, that you can't just typecast African-American art," she said.