Remember the episode of The Cosby Show with the auction? When Mrs. Huxtable buys back a family painting? The picture, Ellis Wilson's circa 1947 oil on composite board, Funeral Procession, was just one of many pieces of fine art that hung in the Huxtable house. A real departure from the typical sitcom interior.
In real life Camille and Bill Cosby were serious art collectors, often advised by scholar and artist, David Driskell. On the television set, works from various periods were juxtaposed with Early-American-style furniture, and I've read that Driskell was consulted on the choices.
The High now presents an annual award in the art historian's name, the Driskell Prize, to honor a scholar or artist who has made a significant contribution to African-American art. And in April the Museum will mount a large exhibition of Driskell's prints. Evolution: Five Decades of Printmaking by David C. Driskell will encompass woodcuts, linocuts -- 80 prints representing a variety of styles and artistic influences from African to Modernist to classic Western aesthetics.
Image two is a David Driskell print.
Of related interest, the NGA's online tour of the week: African-American Artists. Cosby of course has collected works by many important artists, including Joshua Johnson who is represented on the this tour.
Credit for work shown above:
Henry Ossawa Tanner
The Seine, c. 1902
Gift of the Avalon Foundation
BTW: Wilson's Funeral Procession now belongs to Amistad Research Center at Tulane University.