The Harvard Art Museums received a gift of 38 drawings, paintings, and sculpture from Didi and David Barrett’s collection of American self-taught, folk, and outsider art. The gift comprises works by 24 American “outsider” artists, mostly from the 1930s through the 1990s. Among the notable figures represented in the collection are Bill Traylor, Joseph Yoakum, and Nellie Mae Rowe, whose work first came to public attention in the important Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibition “Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980.” In addition, the Barretts’ gift includes three rare “ledger book drawings” made by members of the Plains Indian tribes in the late 19th century.
“We are grateful to Didi and David Barrett for their generous gift,” said Thomas W. Lentz, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. “These ‘outsider’ works take our holdings of American contemporary art in an exciting new direction, providing a unique opportunity for study and appreciation by students, scholars, and visitors.”