Prefete Duffaut (Haitian, 1923-2012), Magician, c. mid. 1960s. Oil on Masonite. 46 x 24 inches. Tampa Museum of Art, Gift of the Arthur Albrecht Revocable Trust.

The Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) announced on October 18 that it has closed on a gift of 88 pieces of Haitian art and a $1 million gift in support of the collection.

The paintings, sculptures and framed maps, along with the cash gift, were bequeathed to TMA by the Arthur R. Albrecht Revocable Trust. Albrecht was a devoted collector of Haitian art and was also active in philanthropy on behalf of the country.

“Florida is home to one of the largest Haitian diaspora communities in the world, and we are thrilled to make this distinctive collection available to our visitors,” said Michael Tomor, Ph.D., Penny and Jeff Vinik executive director at TMA. “Mr. Albrecht built a superb collection surveying the rich cultural themes, landscapes and communities on the island, and this exhibit will add to the increasingly global and dynamic exhibitions we have available for viewing.”

The Albrecht Collection includes artworks from Haiti’s most prominent painters, including Rigaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud, Prefete Duffaut and Philome Obin. The paintings, rarely seen by the public until now, present an overview of the major developments in Haitian painting from the 1960s-80s. The holdings of the Albrecht Collection further augment TMA’s collection of Haitian art, which includes one of the largest American museum collections of ‘drapo Vodou,’ or Haitian Vodou flags.

The $1 million gift complements ongoing fundraising efforts by the museum’s $100 million-plus Centennial Campaign for Renovation and Expansion. TMA recently completed renovations of the Vinik Family Education Center, growing the education space from 1,400 to 8,000 sq. ft., including four classrooms, a lobby, orientation spaces and a secure entrance. With these improvements, the museum anticipates quadrupling the number of students it serves per year, and the school tour program alone can grow from 6,000 to 24,000 students each year.

Through its renovation and expansion plan, new galleries are scheduled to open beginning in November, and the groundbreaking for the expansion portion is expected to take place next year.

Future programming at TMA for the Albrecht Collection includes a dedicated exhibition in spring 2024, which will provide a springboard for educational and scholarly opportunities, including collaborations with universities on Florida’s west coast and Miami, as well as lectures and symposia with renowned artists and scholars of Haitian art and the diaspora. A publication with today’s foremost Haitian artists and writers will accompany the exhibition and related programming.

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