Brockman Gallery Archive
Finding aid created by Los Angeles Public Library staff using RecordEXPRESS
Los Angeles Public Library2023
630 W. 5th Street
Los Angeles, California 90071
Dates: 1940-2020 (bulk 1967-1990)
Collection Number: LA MSS 0002
Extent: 16.59 cubic feet; 17 boxes (10 archival bankers boxes, 5 Hollinger legal document boxes, 2 oversize boxes); 219.5 GB of digital files.
Repository: Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles, California 90071
Abstract: Brockman Gallery , located in a storefront in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and founded by artists and brothers Alonzo Davis and Dale Brockman Davis, was at the root of a community of Black artists from 1967-1990. The gallery , one of the first Black art galleries in the United States, was named for the brothers’ grandmother, Della Brockman . It was, for a time, supported by their work in arts education as teachers at Manual Arts High School (Alonzo) and Dorsey High School (Dale). A goal of the gallery was to bring Black artists into the mainstream of the fine art world through exhibitions, sales, and collecting. Its role was to provide encouragement and a venue for living artists, and to promote a greater public awareness of Black artists. This was achieved through partnerships with community organizations and businesses, sales to collectors and art institutions, and by exhibiting work in a wide variety of mediums and prices. The gallery promoted multiculturalism and drew visitors and artists from many communities, including other minority artists and whites. Local artists including Betye Saar, Timothy Washington, Charles White, John Riddle, John Outterbridge, Varnette Honeywood, Judy Baca, Willie Herron, and Kent Twitchell exhibited work at the gallery. Nationally known artists were exhibited as well, including Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, David Hammons, and Jacob Lawrence. Alonzo and Dale Davis established Brockman Productions in 1973, a non-profit organization that received funding from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs department, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Language of Material: English
This collection is open for research by appointment only in the Rare Books reading room. Information about setting appointments can be arranged by sending an email inquiry to rarebook [at] lapl.org and additional information can be found on the Library’s website: https://www.lapl.org/branches/rarebooks.
[Identification of item]. Brockman Gallery Archive. Collection Number: LA MSS 0002. Los Angeles Public Library
Donated to the Los Angeles Public Library by Dale Brockman Davis in March 2019.
Brockman Gallery was named for Della Brockman. The family name dates back to the 1850s, to the great-grandfather of Dale and Alonzo Davis, Aaron Brockman. He was the son of an enslaved Black woman and was born in the Brockman mansion in Greenville, South Carolina. Aaron’s oldest daughter, Della Brockman, was educated at Clark University in Atlanta, where she met and married Stephen E. Moses. The couple moved to Alabama and established themselves as educators, a value and livelihood that was embraced and practiced by future generations. The Brockman family name is meaningful to Dale and Alonzo Davis as part of their family history as Black Americans. Dale Brockman Davis and Alonzo Davis spent much of their childhood growing up near Tuskegee University in Alabama, where their father was a professor of psychology. Alonzo J. Davis earned a master's degree from Howard University and was a Professor of Psychology at Tuskegee Institute. Agnes Lewis Moses Davis graduated from Talladega College, and taught at the Birmingham Public School. Her parents were the educators Prof. S.E. Moses and Mrs. S.E. Moses. Following the divorce of their parents, Dale and Alonzo moved with their mother, Agnes Moses Davis, to Los Angeles from Tuskegee, Alabama in 1955 as part of the Great Migration. Agnes Moses Davis, the mother of Dale and Alonzo, also known as Chief, and their aunt, Louise J. Moses, were engaged supporters of Brockman Gallery , and influential community leaders in their own right. Louise Moses and Agnes Davis were charter members of the California Librarians Black Caucus. Before passing, the sisters were continual supporters of the Caucus. Louise Moses was employed by the Los Angeles County Public Library and developed innovative reading programs for young people at Juvenile Hall and in the Compton community. Louise Moses ended her career as a Supervisor of the AC Bilbrew Library, a Los Angeles County Public Library. Agnes Davis was a Children’s Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library.
Contains photographs, correspondence, and print materials including ephemera, press clippings, flyers, publications, and brochures that pertain to the administrative activities, exhibitions and events of Brockman Gallery , Brockman Gallery Productions, Brockman Productions, Brockman Gallery & Associates, and Brockman for the Cultural Arts, as well as a wider community of Black artists and organizations. There are substantial records that document the art career of Alonzo Davis. Photographs include images of activities and events such as the Brockman Gallery opening night reception in 1967, Leimert Park cultural events, and mural projects, as well as portraits of artists and their work. Materials date from a 1940 article in The Pittsburgh Courier titled Moses-Davis Wedding in Birmingham Pretty that documents the wedding of Alonzo J. Moses and Agnes Lewis Moses, to recent press coverage of Dale Brockman Davis in T: The New York Times Style Magazine in the 2020 article How a Trio of Black-Owned Galleries Changed the Art World. Most of the materials were produced between the years 1967-1990, when Brockman Gallery was open for business.
Art Galleries, Commercial--California--Los Angeles.
African American artists--California--Los Angeles.
African American art--Social aspects--California--Los Angeles--20th century.
Black Arts Movement.
Davis, Dale, 1945-
Black Arts Council (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles (Calif.)