Episode Forty features Peg Alston. For nearly four decades since establishing Peg Alston Fine Arts, she has emerged as this country’s foremost private dealer specializing in works by African American artists and other artists of African descent, as well as select pieces of traditional African sculpture. In addition to handling art created by gifted emerging and mid-career artists, Peg Alston has sold works by some of the most renowned 20th Century Black masters, including Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson, Laura Wheeler Waring, William T. Williams, Horace Pippen, Charles White, and Elizabeth Catlett. She has also sold works by some of the leading names on the contemporary scene, among them: Sam Gilliam, Richard Yarde, Betye Saar, Howardena Pindell, Frank Bowling, Ronald Burns, Edward Clark, David Driskell, Al Loving, Lubaina Himid, Oliver Johnson, Faith Ringgold, and Raymond Saunders.
Peg Alston emerged on the New York art scene in 1972, a time when art by African Americans was limited. Early giants such as Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis generously served as informal mentors during the beginning stages of her career. Thanks to her keen eye and tastes, commitment to her specialty, and dedication to educating the public through lectures and activism, she has played a pivotal role in cultivating an interest all around the country for investing in African American fine art, and formed close associations with many of today’s most important African American artists. Long active with theStudio Museum in Harlem and many other major New York City cultural institutions, Peg Alston organized some of the first seminars on collecting, appraising and cataloguing African American art.
Today, Peg Alston is a member of the Private Dealer’s Association (PADA) and ArtTable, and recently had the honor of being interviewed by History Makers for their visual and oral archival collection.
Image – Peg Alston with Romare Bearden at an art reception with other artists. circa 1977