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Announcement    Welcome to the Samella Lewis Gallery Online! We offer original art and limited edition prints from the collection of Dr. Samella Lewis at the best prices!


Last updated on Sep 10, 2018

Welcome to the Samella Lewis Gallery Online! We offer original art and limited edition prints from the collection of Dr. Samella Lewis at the best prices!


Unity Lewis

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Unity Lewis


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About SamellaLewisGallery

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The career of visionary teacher, scholar and artist Samella Lewis

The career of Samella Lewis spans some seventy years and has taken her to many parts of the world. As an art historian and scholar, her knowledge is boundless and accessible. As an artist, Lewis remains at the forefront of her field. As a collector, she has amassed an impressive and diverse collection that includes African American, Asian, Caribbean, Native American, South American and African Arts. As a social and community activist, she will serve as a reference for generations to come.

Her college education began in 1941 at Dillard University in her native New Orleans, where she studied with her mentor renowned artist Elizabeth Catlett. After two years at Dillard, she transferred to Hampton Institute (University) where she was a student of Viktor Lowenfeld, a Jewish refugee from Austria who taught his students not to feel they had to produce art to please anyone, but to produce it from the heart. This is an attitude Lewis still maintains and imparts to others.

At The Ohio State University, Lewis received her Master of Arts degree in 1947 and her Ph.D in fine arts and art history in 1951. In 1952 she became chair of the fine arts department at Florida A&M University. Her next stop was a teaching position five years later at the State University of New York (Plattsburgh), where she developed an interest in Chinese language and Chinese art history. This soon led to a Fullbright Fellowship to study Chinese language and art history in Taiwan.

On her return from Taiwan, Dr. Lewis was awarded a New York state grant to study Chinese language and art history at the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C.. with famed author and art historian Sherman Lee. Following this she resumed her studies at New York University and later at the University of Southern California with a three year course in Chinese language and history on a National Defense and Education grant.

Currently Dr. Lewis is Professor Emerita of art history at Scripps College of the Claremont Colleges. Scripps was instrumental in two of Lewis' career milestones. The school provided space and assistance in 1975 when she founded The International Review of African American Art. The school also lent support to The Museum of African American Art in 1976, of which Lewis was founder and director.

During the course of her career, Lewis has received numerous awards and honors, including an appointment as a distinguished scholar at the Getty Museum and the Samella Lewis Scholarship and Contemporary Art Collection at Scripps College in Claremont, California.

Selected Honors and Awards

2007 Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection. Scripps
College, Claremont, California

2005 Honorary Doctor of Humanities. California College of
the Arts, Oakland, California

2005 Alumni Association Award, Ohio State University,
Columbus, Ohio

2005 (April) Founders Day Honor. Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia

2004 League of Allied Arts Award. Los Angeles, California

2004 Special Day Recognition Award for Outstanding
Contributions. City of New Orleans, Louisiana

2004 Zora Neal Hurston Festival Award. Eatonville, Florida

2003 History Maker Award. Chicago, Illinois

2003 1st Honoree Porter Colloquium. Howard University
Washington, D.C.

2002 The "Samella" Annual Award for Achievement in the
Visual Arts established. Los Angeles, California

2000 The Samella Lewis Annual Scholarship Fund established Scripps College, The Claremont Colleges, California

2000 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for
Contributions and Efforts on behalf of the Community
and the Government. United States House of

2000 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for
Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community.
United States House of Representatives

1999 Annual Recognition Award. College Art Association of America, Committee on Women in the Arts, New York,
New York

1999 Sojourner Truth Award. Black Studies Center, The
Claremont Colleges, California

1998 Doctor of Humane Letters. Dillard University, New
Orleans, Louisiana

1996 Honorary Doctor of Humanities. Bennett College,
Greensboro, North Carolina

1995 UNICEF Award for the Visual Arts

1993 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. University of
Cincinnati, Ohio

1993 Charles White Lifetime Achievement Award

1992 Lifetime Achievement Award. Brandywine Workshop,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1990 Doctor of Humane Letters. Hampton University, Virginia

1990 Legends in Our Time Tribute. Essence Magazine
New York, New York

1989 Honor Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts. Women's Caucus for the Arts, College Art Association, New York, New York

1986 Citation for Distinguished Alumnae. Ohio State University

1985 Women For. Los Angeles Achievement in the Visual
Arts, California

1984 Teacher of the Year Award. Scripps College, Claremont, California

1984 Women's Building Vesta Award. Los Angeles, California

1983 Who's Who in America

1983 Who's Who in the West

1982 Who's Who in Black America

1976 Honorary Doctor of Humanities, Chapman College, Orange, California

1975 Who's Who in American Art

Personal Information

1951 Ph.D. Ohio State University

1948 M.A. Ohio State University

1945 B.S. Hampton University

Postdoctoral Fellowships

1996-1997 Distinguished Scholar. The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities; Los Angeles, California

1981-1982 National Research Council / Ford Foundation. Asian Studies

1965 New York State / Ford Foundation. Study of Asian Civilization and Chinese Language. Seminars: New York University, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Freer Gallery and Harvard University

1964-1966 National Defense Education Act. Study of Chinese Language and Asian Civilization; University of Southern California

1962 Fulbright Fellowship. Study of Asian Art History, Language and General Civilization; First Institute of Chinese Civilization,T'ung Hai University, Taiwan---including travel to other Asian capitals


1984 Professor Emerita, Art History. Scripps College, The Claremont Colleges, California

1969-1984 Professor, Art History. Scripps College, The Claremont Colleges, California

1966-1967 Associate Professor, Art History. California State University, Long Beach

1958-1965 Professor, Humanities/ Art History. University of the State of New York, Plattsburgh

1953-1958 Chair/ Professor, Fine Arts Department. Florida A&M University, Tallahassee

1948-1953 Associate Professor, Art Department. Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

1946-1947 Assistant Professor, Art Department. Hampton University, Virginia

Administrative Positions

1976-1996 Founder/ Editor. The International Review of African American Art, Los Angeles, California

1976-1986 Founder/ Curator. The Museum of African American Art. Los Angeles, California

1976-1984 Director. Clark Humanities Museum, Scripps College, Claremont, California

1972-1974 Co-Chair. National Conference of Artists, Chicago Illinois

1968- 1969 Coordinator of Education. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Professional Affiliations

2002 - present Consultant, Joan Mitchell Art Foundation

2000 - present Board member, Woman's Caucus for Art

1995 - present Board member, Brandywine Workshop

1990 - 1994 Board member, College Art Association of America

1980 - 1990 Review Panelist, National Endowment for the Arts

Professional Memberships

1989 - present College Art Association of America

1977 - 1980 National Screening Committee for Far Eastern Studies, Fulbright Fellowship Awards

1970 - present Southern California Art History Association

1958 - present National Conference of Artists

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2006 Brown vs Board of Education Traveling Show

2005 Garbo Hearne Fine Art, Little Rock, Arkansas

2004 Stella Jones Gallery. New Orleans, Louisiana

2003 Kansas African American Museum. Wichita, Kansas

2000 UFA Gallery. New York, New York

1999 Millard Sheets Gallery. Pomona, California

1998 The Museum of African American Art. Los Angeles, California

1998 Zora Neal Hurston Museum. Eatonville, Florida

1997 Bomani Gallery. San Francisco, California

1997 Hampton University Museum. Virginia

1997 Parish Gallery. Washington, D.C.

1996 Bill Hodges Gallery. New York, New York

1995 Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters. Dallas, Texas

1995 NCA Gallery. Detroit, Michigan

1994 Bennett College. Greensboro, North Carolina

1993 Morehouse College. Atlanta, Georgia

1990 Hampton University Museum. Virginia

1984 The Museum of African American Art. Los Angeles, California

Selected Group Exhibitions

2004 New York Historical Society. New York, New York

2003 Haus der Kirche. Hamburg, Germany

2002 Du Sable Museum. Chicago, Illinois

2002 Benedict College Art Gallery. Columbia, South Carolina

2000 Art Institute of Chicago. Illinois

2000 Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries. Georgia

2000 The High Museum of Art. Atlanta, Georgia

2000 The King Arts Complex. Columbus, Ohio

2000 Stella Jones Gallery. New Orleans, Louisiana

Production partners

  • Print On Demand Drop Center

    Chatsworth, CA

    A fulfillment, shipping and warehousing service for small online retailers.

  • Samella Lewis

    LA, CA

    Artist and Art Collector

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