Works in the Collection
Merton Simpson was born in 1928 in Charleston, South Carolina. While hospitalized during a bout of childhood diphtheria. He studied with artist William Halsey who recognized his talent. Simpson worked at the Gibbes Museum despite its segregation. Simpson studied at Cooper Union and NYU where he had the opportunity to study under Hale Woodruff. In 1951, Simpson joined the U.S. Air Force.
Simpson returned to New York after his military service and opened a gallery on Madison Ave. He joined the Spiral Group, an organization of African American artists that included Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Charles Alston. Simpson continued to paint and run his gallery, positioning himself as one of the foremost dealers of African art. Simpson’s work can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum and the Gibbes Museum of Art, among others. The artist died in 2013.