High Acquires 130 works by one of Georgia’s most admired self-taught
ATLANTA (Spring 2004) – The High Museum of Art announces a generous
gift by Atlanta art patron Judith Alexander of 130 original works by self-taught artist Nellie Mae Rowe. This acquisition, consisting of masterwork drawings, paintings, preliminary sketches,
three-dimensional works, a sketchbook, archival papers and photographs, establishes the High as the definitive repository and permanent home for an unparalleled collection of works by Nellie
In 2002, Alexander gave the High sixteen works as the first installment of the larger gift. At that time, the Museum purchased
two major drawings for the collection, “When I Was a Little Girl” and “Waiting for Sandy,” both created in 1978—the year Ms. Alexander first met Nellie Mae Rowe at her home in Vinings, Ga.
Alexander subsequently became the artist’s dealer and friend. Since the artist’s death in 1982, Alexander has been dedicated to the study and preservation of Rowe’s work.
Future exhibitions featuring this exclusive collection will give Museum visitors an opportunity to witness the spirit of
creative celebration that fills Rowe’s artworks. A special gallery space in the Meier Building will provide ongoing recognition of Rowe as one of Georgia’s most admired self-taught
Nellie Mae Rowe
Nellie Mae Rowe was born on July 4, 1900, in Fayetteville, Ga., and lived the last fifty years of her life in what is today
the Atlanta suburb of Vinings. Like many self-taught artists, Rowe improvised and experimented as she created, using unconventional materials in her art. While working within a design
framework, Rowe used her drawings and three-dimensional pieces as expressions of play and free invention. Her works took childhood memories and themes from everyday life as their
Since her first public showing in the exhibition “Missing Pieces: Georgia Folk Art 1770 – 1976,” Rowe’s works have continued
to attract the attention of collectors, art historians, curators and the public. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Alexander Gallery in Atlanta, and she went on to be featured in many
one-woman shows throughout her life. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the of American Museum Folk Art in New York, the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, and
the Library of Congress and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.
Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United
States. With over 11,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th– and 20th-century American art; significant holdings of European paintings and
decorative art; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting
and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and
self-taught art. The High’s Media Arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005, the High opened three new
buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visitwww.High.org.