Works in the Collection
David Driskell was born in 1931 in Eatonton, Georgia. He earned an undergraduate degree from Howard University and an MFA degree from Catholic University in 1962. His post-graduate education included Skowhegan School of Painting Sculpture and the Netherlands Institute for the History of Art in the Hague. He began his teaching career in 1955 at Talladega College in Alabama before moving on to Howard and Fisk Universities. Driskell then served as a visiting professor at a number of universities including Bowdoin College, The University of Michigan, Queens College, and Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He began teaching at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1977, and in 1978, he became chair of the department. He continued to teach until his retirement in 1998. In 2001, the university established the David C. Driskell Center in his honor.
Over the course of his career, Driskell earned thirteen honorary doctorate degrees and was awarded both the Harmon and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships. In 1976 he curated the foundational exhibit “Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750-1950”. Since 1977 he has served as cultural advisor to Camille O. and William H. Cosby and as the curator of the Cosby Collection of Fine Arts. In 2000, at a White House ceremony, Driskell received the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton. In 2007 he was elected as a National Academician by the National Academy. The “Doorway” Portfolio was acquired in 2009 for the permanent collection of The Phillips Collection, Washington DC.