Works in the Collection
Allan Freelon was born in Philadelphia in 1895. He was the first African American to receive a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts (now the University of the Arts) where he studied art education, studies he would complete at the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy. He then studied fine art, receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s from Tyler School of Art of Temple University. He served as Second Lieutenant in the Army during World War I, then returned to Philadelphia to join the faculty of the Philadelphia Board of Education. He was appointed Art Supervisor for elementary and later secondary education, a position he held for the rest of his career.
One of his earliest documented shows was the first exhibition of African-American art in Harlem at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, now part of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He was also a regular exhibitor in the annual exhibitions of the Harmon Foundation. Freelon was a member of the Tra Club, a group of Philadelphia artists including notable artist and printmaker Dox Thrash, and the Pyramid Club, a cultural hub for African American artists, intellectuals, and professionals during the 40s and 50s. The artist’s work can be found in numerous private collections and the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Woodmere Museum.