Explore Collections1970s–1990s


Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923–2015), Red Curve VI, oil on canvas, purchase with funds from Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr., and Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable and High Museum of Art Enhancement Fund, 2002.3.

Ambitious scale and emerging art vocabularies were introduced to the High’s collection in the 1980s and 1990s with the acquisition of works by Richard Deacon, Sol LeWitt, Jackie Ferrara, Michael Heizer, Robert Morris, Jackie Winsor, and Frank Stella. By the 1990s, works addressing multiculturalism, neo-expressionism, and abstraction began to form important areas of strength; the collection also was significantly enhanced by a major gift of twenty-five works of contemporary art from Lenore and Burton Gold, while multiple acquisitions of works by Radcliffe Bailey, Sean Scully, Ellsworth Kelly, Gerhard Richter, and others established monographic concentrations in the collection. An effort to diversify the collection in the 1990s brought important works by women artists including Lynda Benglis, Petah Coyne, Lesley Dill, April Gornik, Rona Pondick, Alison Saar, and others. Meanwhile, African American art became an important focus of the collection with the acquisition of works by Terry Adkins, Radcliffe Bailey, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Colescott, Sam Gilliam, Faith Ringgold, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, and others.

Michael Rooks

Michael Rooks

Wieland Family Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art