UD The Paul R. Jones Collection
A Gift of Lasting Impact

 Jones and class photo Paul Jones often draws from his career in government service when speaking to classes at UD.
"Impact of gift"-UD president Roselle quote
Newark, Del., Feb.14, 2001 –– One of the oldest, largest and most complete holdings of African-American art in the world–the 1,000 piece Paul R. Jones Collection–has a new home at the University of Delaware, President David P. Roselle announced Feb. 14.

The collection, now showcased in Jones’ Atlanta home and in exhibitions across the country, includes works by such noted artists as Charles White, Herman "Kofi" Bailey, David Driskell, Elizabeth Catlett, Earl Hooks, Leo Twiggs, Ayokunle Odeleye, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, P.H. Polk and Selma Burke, who created the image of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that appears on the dime.

"The University of Delaware is truly privileged to enjoy the friendship and support of Paul Jones, whose collection is magnificent,” Roselle said, at a special ceremony announcing the gift, held at the Bob Carpenter Sports/Convocation Center on the Newark, Del., campus.

"We are so very pleased and honored that, in the University's outstanding programs in art, art history, art conservation, black American studies and museum studies, as well as its leading-edge technologies, Paul Jones has seen an appropriate home for his collection," Roselle said. "Mr. Jones believes art should be made widely available for the purposes of education and enjoyment, and we share and are committed to implementing his vision.

“We particularly look forward to using it to foster relationships with a wider public, to include our colleagues and students at historically black institutions, including Spelman and Morehouse colleges in Atlanta.”

"I am excited to have my collection at the University of Delaware," Jones said, citing the institution's resources to professionally conserve and exhibit the vast array of paintings, drawings, photographs, lithographs and sculpture.

"I have wanted to find a way to keep the collection together so that it will have the most possible impact on artists, scholars and students," Jones said. "For the last five years, I have been looking for the ideal home where the collection would be wanted and woven into the fabric of an institution, where it would be used for teaching and exhibitions.

“I believe the University of Delaware is that place," Jones said.

"I applaud the University of Delaware for embracing this because it is a very sensitively compiled collection," Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, chief curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, said. "Paul Jones is a passionate collector with a very good eye. He had sought out very good examples of excellent artists who have played prominent roles in American art. "He is very interested in educational outreach, and the University of Delaware is a very good teaching institution," she added.

Cataloging and appraisal has begun in preparation for the collection’s move to the Newark campus over the course of the next several years. Amalia Amaki, an artist and art historian from Atlanta, has been hired to work with University Gallery staff on this effort and to teach at the University. A major exhibition highlighting the collection will be mounted in the future at the University Gallery at Old College on the Newark campus. This show is expected to travel.

“This collection will become a truly wonderful resource for students and faculty here and from other institutions as well, enriching not only the study of art, art history and art conservation but American culture as well.” Provost Mel Schiavelli said. “The many academic programs related to the Paul R. Jones Collection will promote the study of African-American insights and influences across a broad spectrum of culture in this country, reflecting the University’s commitment to providing its students with exposure to the rich and diverse culture of our world.”

Thomas M. DiLorenzo, dean of the College of Arts and Science, said UD is committed to putting into action Jones’ vision “to enrich the lives of UD students and staff, Delaware school children and the general public, among many.” He noted that the collection will be the centerpiece of the University’s new Center for the Study of American Material Culture, which encompasses the world of objects and images that people make and use. “The goal of the center is to bring scholars and students from many different disciplines together to spark a dynamic collaboration. The Paul R. Jones Collection will provide an excellent opportunity to do just that.”

Belena S. Chapp, director of museums at UD, said, “We are excited by the countless possibilities for study, exhibition development and educational programming afforded by the addition of this wonderful treasure.”

© The Paul R. Jones Collection
University of Delaware