Louisville was the birthplace or home of several notable and important twentieth-century artists. Bob Thompson, Sam Gilliam, Kenneth Young, and Ed Hamilton have all received national acclaim for works ranging from abstract canvasses to representational monuments. Thompson, Gilliam, and Young left Louisville early in their careers. Hamilton, along with artists like William Duffy, G. C. Coxe, and Elmer Lucille Allen remained in Louisville. Many studied at the University of Louisville, some only shortly after the school desegregated. As barriers fell in art education, and as the Louisville art scene has evolved, each artist has faced a different set of choices, opportunities, and challenges. Building on research that informed the Filson’s 2017 exhibit Understanding the Indescribable: Paintings by G. Caliman Coxe, Associate Curator of Collections Aaron Rosenblum will explore the historical context of three generations of Black artists in Louisville.
Image courtesy of University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections.