M. Hanks Gallery specializes in African American art. Since 1988 events at the gallery, including exhibitions, receptions, gallery talks and art appreciation classes, have helped to demystify art in general and increase awareness and understanding of African American art in particular.
Named after his daughter Monika, M. Hanks Gallery is the brainchild of Eric Hanks. He established it to share his passion for African American art with the general public. He also wanted to combine his need to have his own business with his desire to provide a first-class location worthy enough for only the best artwork.
"This is the best job I've ever had," Hanks says. "I feel lucky to have the opportunity to meet and work with some of the finest artists in the country and also with so many wonderful and enthusiastic collectors."
Indeed, Hanks's gallery showcases 20th century paintings, sculpture, drawings and graphics by leading artists. His gallery is the exclusive representative of the estate of Walter Williams and of contemporary artist William Pajaud. In addition, the gallery represents Elizabeth Catlett, Meta Fuller, John Riddle, John Offutt, Michael Massenburg and Phoebe Beasley. And they exhibit the works of Augusta Savage, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Lois M. Jones, David C. Driskell, John Biggers, Charles Sebree, William Artis, Hale Woodruff, Sam Gilliam, Beauford Delaney, Joseph Delaney, Marion Perkins, Grafton T. Brown, Henry O. Tanner, Charles White and others.
Sales of the artwork are brisk. "Over the last several years interest in African American art has grown dramatically," Hanks says. "Collectors of every description are discovering the richness and diversity of the work."
M. Hanks Gallery, however, does more than exhibit and sell artwork. They are committed to educating the art collecting public. Currently, seven different art appreciation classes are offered, How to Collect Art, Understanding Prints, How to View Art I, How to View Art II, Appreciating Abstract Art, Subliminals in Art, and African American Art From the 17th Century to the Present.
How to Collect Art teaches the basic guidelines and a systematic approach to collecting art. Understanding Prints explains the different types of prints, such as lithographs and serigraphs, and how to identify them. How to View Art I and How to View Art II sharpen the ability to see art by teaching the basic visual elements that go into any work of art. Appreciating Abstract Art teaches the various categories of abstract art and provides the tools necessary to judge quality. Subliminals in Art exposes methods and mechanisms used to "hide" things in art. Finally, African American Art from the 17th Century to the Present provides an overview of this important segment of American art history, looking at the major periods of development and the outstanding artists of each period.
Classes are held at the gallery annually in the fall and are taught in a non-threatening way using slides and actual artwork. Questions are encouraged. Collectors at every level, from novice to experienced, benefit.
One collector says, "Since taking the classes, I have discovered that enjoying art is an enriching experience that has now become an integral and indispensable part of my life."
Another service provided by M. Hanks Gallery is art appraisals. Often appraisals are needed for insurance purposes, tax reasons, when a collector wishes to sell art, or just personal edification. They are done by Eric Hanks who has 21 years of experience, is certified by the Appraiser Association of America, and is USPAP qualified.
While Eric Hanks is proud of his 23 year record of sales and service, his greatest pleasure is in building bridges of understanding. "Most artists consider their individual works of art as their children," he says. "I feel the most comfortable finding a good home for their childrenone where they are understood and appreciated."Gallery hours are by appointment.
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