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Wesleyan College Art Collection: Beverly Buchanan

Beverly Buchanan was born and raised in the South. She graduated from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a historically black women’s college, with a degree in medical technology. She went on to Columbia University in New York City and earned a master’s degree in parasitology and a master’s degree in public health. Buchanan wanted to dedicate more time to her art, so she studied at the Art Students League in New York under Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden, who became her mentors. After a successful New York gallery show, Buchanan moved to Macon, Georgia, where she taught and worked most of her life.

Buchanan explored the images, stories, and architecture of her African American childhood through painting, drawing, sculpture, video, and land art. She is best known for her expressionistic style depicting southern vernacular architecture, “shacks,” paying tribute to the history, resilience, and tenacity of those who made do with what they had. Throughout her life she received many awards: a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Georgia Visual Arts honor, and the College Art Association Committee for Women in the Arts award. Buchanan’s work is widely collected and exhibited including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the High Museum, and the Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences.

Wesleyan's extensive collection of fine paintings, prints, furniture, and objects – donated by alumnae, foundations, and friends of the College – is among the most impressive in central Georgia. The collection includes three Kress Foundation gifts: Madonna and Child by the Late Renaissance Venetian painter Cima da Conegliano, and Adoration of the Magi and Adoration of the Shepherds by the Venetian Rococo painter Gaspare Diziani. Seascapes by Cowles Myles Collier form the core of a significant group of New England landscapes, recently enhanced through the gift of a pastoral painting by Hugh Bolton Jones.

The print collection is highlighted by a portrait of General George Custer by Andy Warhol and a series of colorful abstract cats by the revolutionary Dutch artist Karel Appel. Among the furniture and objects are two rare English Regency chairs, a Chinese Chippendale chest, and two Satsuma vases. While many individual works stand out for their beauty or expressive power, the value of Wesleyan's Treasures lies in the strength of the collection as a whole – one that has great aesthetic and educational importance to students, scholars, and art enthusiasts.

Shown: Floral Series, n.d. Oli pastel on paper Gift of C. Terry Holland and Jeff Logan Wesleyan College Collection Berry Bushel, 1982 Oil pastel on paper Gift of C. Terry Holland Wesleyan College Collection Sculpture Drawing #3, 1979 Mixed media Gift of Don and Nancy Cornett Wesleyan College Collection

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