The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has the largest collection of Thornton Dial works in the world. It’s now about to get bigger, thanks to a major gift of artworks to the museum from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
The acquisition totals 54 works by contemporary African-American artists from the South. Thirteen of those are by Mr. Dial, a self-taught artist who used scavenged materials to depict black struggle in the South. The acquisition includes “Crossing Waters” (2006-2011), which refers to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and was the largest painting ever made by Mr. Dial, who died last year.
With the gift, the museum will also receive 11 quilts by the women of Gee’s Bend, a remote community in Alabama renowned for its beautiful quilting. In a 2002 review in The New York Times of a Gee’s Bend collection at the Whitney Museum, Michael Kimmelman called them “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”