“We have five generations of abstract artists represented in this exhibition,” said Alexis Assam, 2018-2019 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow and co-curator of “The Shape of Abstraction: Selections from the Ollie Collection” just ahead of the exhibition’s opening at Saint Louis Art Museum back in September.
A tour led by Assam and exhibition co-curator Gretchen L. Wagner, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, provided scale for the massive gift that is the Thelma and Bert Ollie Memorial Collection. More than 40 abstract paintings, drawings and prints by black artists take up three rooms within the Museum. The exhibit represents just about half of the 81 works of art, educational material and related memorabilia that New Jersey-based collector and St. Louis native Ronald Maurice Ollie and his wife, Monique McRipley Ollie, gifted to the institution in honor of Ronald Ollie’s parents back in 2017.
Ronald Ollie will be on hand to discuss his journey into learning about the work of black abstract artists and building a collection in a talk entitled “Abstract Art By Black Artists: A Collector’s Journey,” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 30 at the Saint Louis Art Museum.