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The Gantt Center Mourns the Loss of Art Collector and Benefactor Vivian Davidson Hewitt

Hewitt's legacy lives on through the John & Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, the cornerstone of the Gantt Center permanent collection

Vivian HewittIt is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Vivian Davidson Hewitt on May 29, 2022. Born in New Castle, Pennsylvania on February 17, 1920, Mrs. Hewitt – along with her husband John – visited galleries, artists’ studios and exhibitions and collected hundreds of paintings, etchings and sketches over a 50-year period. Fifty-eight of those works form the John & Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, which is the cornerstone of the Gantt Center’s permanent collection.

Mrs. Hewitt also gifted her collection, the Vivian Davidson Hewitt Collection to the Gantt Center along with significant artist papers and books. Her generosity was boundless – she often requested that friends and colleagues contribute to the Gantt Center Education Fund in lieu of birthday gifts for her.

The Hewitts were of modest means. Mr. Hewitt was a medical journalist and freelance writer and Mrs. Hewitt was a librarian, yet they lived with purpose and a shared passion for learning. Mrs. Hewitt was Pittsburgh’s first African American librarian and later became the first African American president of the Special Libraries Association. Among her many accolades, in 2016 she was awarded the honorary title of Dame by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Learn more about the John & Vivian Hewitt Collection here.

Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2022

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