Saint Louis University

Franco and Tessa
Franco and Tessa, by Camille Billops

Larry and Brenda Thompson, collectors of the priceless works of African-American art displayed in the Saint Louis University Museum of Art's newest exhibition, will be in-gallery at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.

Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African-American Art features more than 60 sculptures, oil paintings, mixed media and ceramics by celebrated African-American artists including Romare Bearden, Thelma Johnson Streat and Henry O. Tanner. The Thompson collection includes the work of notable artists, as well as those by artists who have been considered emerging, regional or lesser known and have typically not been recognized in the traditional narratives of African-American art.

About the collectors:

Having collected more than 600 works since their marriage in 1970, Larry and Brenda Thompson nurture great passion for collecting art. Their collection combines pieces of different media, mirroring the Thompsons' diverse tastes.

In 2012, the Thompsons donated the entire exhibition to the Georgia Museum of Art as part of a gift of 100 works by African American artists and an endowment to fund a curator of the African diaspora.

Brenda Thompson has long been a patron and leader in the arts. She currently serves on the board of trustees for the Barnes Foundation and on the board of the Clark Atlanta University art galleries. She joined the Georgia Museum of Art's board of advisors in fall 2011. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Saint Louis University in 1980. She was an assistant professor at Morehouse College in the department of psychology before focusing on child and adolescent mental health, first as a clinical psychologist and then as a school psychologist.

Larry Thompson is executive vice president of government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary for PepsiCo. He has served as the Deputy General of the United States. Larry Thompson has taught at Georgia State College of Law and the University of Georgia Law School. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan and he developed his eagerness for collecting art while an undergraduate at Culver-Stockton College.

This exhibition is supported in part by Emerson, Mary L. and Richard T. Fisher, the Saligman Charitable Foundation, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Lawrence H. Biondi, S.J., Endowment for the Visual Arts.