In 1941 the Gallery was relocated to the east wing, ground floor of Founders Library. The Gallery continued its policy of loan exhibitions, and for a decade this site was the venue for many important traveling exhibitions, as well as exhibitions by faculty and students.
The estate of Dr. Alain Leroy Locke, who died in 1974, was received into the collection in 1955. Locke, professor of philosophy and the first African American Rhodes Scholar, bequeathed all his paintings, books, sculpture, and memorabilia to Howard. Approximately 300 pieces of African sculpture and handicrafts, including gold weights, served as the core of the collection, which over the years has been augmented by substantial donations. The Locke bequest included an abundance of works by African American artists and increased representation by artists active during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1990, 121 works from Mrs. Beatrice Cummings Mayer of Chicago were donated to the collection in memory of her late husband, Robert Mayer. This gift expanded the holdings to include works from Central and South Africa.
The gift of a "study collection" of twelve renaissance and baroque paintings and one renaissance sculpture was received from the Samuel W. Kress Foundation in 1961 – one of a number of such donations by the Kress Foundation to art centers and university galleries throughout the country, where the teaching of art history was offered as a major discipline. The Irving Gumbel Collection of prints by European etchers, engravers, mezzotinters, and wood engravers of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries was donated in 1963. This collection, approximately 350 works on paper, contains prints by Rembrandt, Jacques Callot, Wenceslaus Hollar, and engravers such as Heinrich Goltzius, Lucas van Leyden, the German "Little Masters", and many others.
A New Facility
In April 1961, the Fine Arts complex, Cramton Auditorium, Ira Aldridge Theatre, and Lulu Vere Childers Hall (the former College of Fine Arts), opened to the public. Located in Childers Hall, the Gallery’s spacious new quarters consisted of three interconnecting galleries. The inaugural exhibition, New Vitas in American Art, was a resounding success. Several works by Black and white artists in this exhibition were acquired with a grant from the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation. That same year, the IBM Corporation donated a group of seven paintings and four sculptures to the gallery.
Serving as a study and research facility for the University and scholarly communities, the Howard University Gallery of Art offers rotating exhibitions of national and international artists, augmented with selections from the permanent collections in the galleries named for the first directors, James V. Herring and James A. Porter, and the eminent professors Lois Mailou Jones (1905-1998) and James Lesesne Wells (1902-1993).