Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
A hungry-eyed Picasso woman, a soulful-eyes Modigliani woman, and a fiery Frederick Douglass peered down on a crowded, softly lit dining room.
Adolphus Ealey's party guests wandered through his rambling three-story house on 3rd Street in Northwest Washington, observing $2-million-worth of art that hangs on every wall of Ealey's house.
It is the Barnett-Aden collection started in 1943 by Howard University Prof. James V. Herring and his student Alonzo J. Aden. It includes the work of such landmark black artists as Edward Bannister and Harry O. Tanner, plus many other modern artists.
It is collection without a real gallery, and Ealey, who inherited it in 1969 and has guided it through shows at the Corcoran Gallery and temporary residence at a Philadelphia museum, displayed his private "gallery" Thursday to a crowd of "movers and shakers" in an attempt to solicit their help in finding and securing a real gallery for the artwork.
Ealey urged his friends to simply contribute their time, their people-finding skills, to the effort to find a gallery. "A lot of people consider this a project for blacks, "he said. "That's ridiculous. It's a project for all Americans. It should function for blacks and whites. Schoolchildren should see this collection. When you go to a black child and ask him to name two famous white artists he can easily say Picasso and Rembrandt. But when you ask a white child to name two black artists, he can't.Now who's uneducated?"