Enormous Acquisition

A detail of a painting called Jerome by Titus KapharThe Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) is deepening its engagement with a living artist—and with issues of social and racial justice—with the recent acquisition of Titus Kaphar’s large-scale work, Jerome.

A 96-inch x 72-inch oil on canvas, Jerome is the first in a series titled The Jerome Project, inspired by Kaphar’s search for his estranged birth father’s prison records. The painting, now on view, also reflects the artist’s exploration of technique in the history of painting.

Two collages by Kaphar are part of WCMA’s art loan program, WALLS, and inspired students to invite him to speak at Claiming Williams in 2018. His talk sparked student interest and the decision to acquire Jerome. “The addition of major works by prominent African-American artists demonstrates a passion on the part of students, faculty, staff and alumni for making the collection ever-more inclusive,” says WCMA director Pamela Franks. “Jerome will be a touchstone for students and faculty and a visitor highlight.”