The Shape of Abstraction: Selections from the Ollie Collection presents 40 abstract paintings, drawings, and prints by acclaimed black artists drawn from and celebrating the transformative gift of the Thelma and Bert Ollie Memorial Art Collection. Featured in the exhibition are works from multiple generations of black artists including Stanley Whitney’s richly colorful Out in the Open, Sam Gilliam’s radical draped painting, Half Circle Red, and Frank Bowling’s Fishes, Wishes, and Starapple B.
St. Louis-native Ronald Ollie grew up visiting the Saint Louis Art Museum with his parents who nurtured a deep appreciation of art within him. Ollie spent decades collecting abstract works by black artists, often befriending them and forming long, collaborative relationships. In 2017, Ollie and his wife Monique gifted the Museum with 81 abstract works in honor of his parents, a collection that has added depth and breadth to the Museum’s holdings of works by black artists.