Barnett-Aden Gallery

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Barnett-Aden Gallery
Location127 Randolph Pl. Washington, D.C.
TypeArt gallery
FounderJames V. Herring, Alonzo J. Aden

The Barnett-Aden Gallery was a nonprofit art gallery in Washington D.C. founded by James V. Herring and Alonzo J. Aden, the founder and first curator, respectively of Howard University's Gallery of Art. The gallery, officially incorporated on August 19, 1947, was one of the first African American galleries of art in the United States. Artists featured in the collection include Edward Mitchell Bannister, Jacob Lawrence, Laura Wheeler Waring, Romare Bearden, Henry O. Tanner and Bernice Cross. The collection featured artists of every race, particularly African American artists whose work was shown in few other venues. "...there were few such opportunities in the years following World War those bleak years, the Barnett-Aden Gallery was one of the few private galleries where Black painters, sculptors and graphic artists had a continuing opportunity to expose their works.”[1]

Located in the first floor of the founders' row home, the gallery opened on October 16, 1943 with the exhibition "American Paintings for the Home." The early gallery as it existed in 1947 can be seen in the painting First Gallery by John Robinson.[2] Exhibitions, shows, receptions and other events provided a racially integrated gathering place for the art community in a segregated city from the 1940s-1960s.[3] Upon the death of the founders in 1961 and 1969, the bulk of the works of art was transferred via Adolphus Ealey to the Museum of African American Art in Tampa, FL, (now defunct) as well as to private collections. The collection was shown in the 1970s at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum of the Smithsonian Institution[1] and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The majority of the collection is owned by Robert L. Johnson.[4] This portion of the collection was shown in an exhibition titled "A Homecoming Celebration" in 2009 at Hemphill Fine Arts.


  1. ^ a b Anacostia Neighborhood Museum; Barnett-Aden Gallery; Corcoran Gallery of Art (1974). The Barnett-Aden collection: catalog. Washington, DC: Published for the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum by the Smithsonian Institution Press; pg. 153.
  3. ^ Sandra Fitzpatrick; Maria R. Goodwin (1999). The Guide to Black Washington. pp. 94–95.
  4. ^ Adams, Susan (2008-12-04). "Black Market". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 2014-06-29.