Predominantly known as an accomplished printmaker and renowned educator, James Lesesne Wells was also a talented painter. While he focused his later career on printmaking and believed its accessibility and reproducibility was suitable for broadening the audience for African American subject matter, Wells' art was rich with religious and mythological scenes often set in detailed urban and rural environments. This rare oil painting offers rich autumnal hues, rendered in the same impressionistic brushstrokes he brought to his still life works, and the linear diagonals of the road in the bottom right recall similar directional marks found in the later prints of urban scenes.
The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art
One of the most important collections of African American visual art dating from the 18th century to the present, the collection includes 62 works from Edward Bannister, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert S. Duncanson, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence and others. This collection forms the foundation of a multidisciplinary center for the study, understanding and appreciation of African American art and culture. Items from the collection have previously rotated in the Evans Center Gallery and through unique exhibitions such as the 2012 "Life's Link: A Fred Wilson Installation," and the 2017 travelling exhibition of Jacob Lawrence's work.