The permanent collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art is dramatically enhanced by the recent acquisition of the Sellars Collection of Art by American Women. This landmark gathering of outstanding paintings, drawings and sculptures celebrates the achievements of over 250 talented women artists primarily active from the mid-19th through mid-20th centuries. While the names of many of these artists may now be unfamiliar, in their time these women exhibited alongside their male counterparts, received accolades and awards, and pioneered the way for those who would follow. Today, art historians are endeavoring to rediscover the accomplishments of these artists and to restore their rightful place in the expanding narrative of American art history.
Collectors Alan and Louise Sellars of Macon, Georgia, were perceptive when they chose to collect the work of these overlooked artists, and particularly insightful in deliberately not limiting their efforts to highlight one particular style or locale. While the Collection emphasizes the strong American preference for realism, works range from early efforts in the naïve tradition through sophisticated accomplishments reflecting the various influences of modernism— from impressionism through early abstraction. Equally varied in terms of subject matter, the Collection encompasses accomplished florals and still-lifes, elegant portraits, engaging genre scenes, and landscapes both intimate and panoramic, reflecting many different regions of the country and world. A small sub-collection of bronzes rounds out this unique gathering of art, which the Huntsville Museum of Art now has the great privilege of preserving and exhibiting for all to discover and enjoy.