The Paintings of Allan Rohan Crite

The Paintings of Allan Rohan Crite

Allan Rohan Crite (b. 1910) created a series of neighborhood paintings during the 1930s and 1940s that were inspired by the African American community life in Boston. After a long and prolific career, at 90 Crite is now considered a reporter-historian, with his works embodying visual documents of the people, places, and spirit of a past era. On view at the Frye Art Museum Mar. 10 - May 6, this retrospective exhibition brings together for the first time on the west coast an important collection of oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and graphic works, celebrating Crite's legacy.

Noted as self-effacing, Crite has always avoided self-promotion and generously given away many of his works, making them widely dispersed and somewhat difficult to trace. Until recently, Crite was recognized by only a few small groups of artists, experts, and academics specializing in African American art. (left: Bass Violin Player, 1941, oil on canvas, 33 1/2 x 26 1/4 inches, Gift of the Artist, The Boston Athenaeum)

Starting at an early age with the Children's Art Center in Boston, Crite continued his studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A devout Episcopalian, Crite turned his attention and talents more intently toward religious themes and objects during the 1940s.

The artist painted triptychs, altars, murals, vestments, and banners for local churches. He also authored and illustrated three books: Three Spirituals, All Glory, and Were You There?

Inspired by the African American community, Crite later filtered out the more typical religious themes, preferring to focus on everyday life on the streets of south Boston. His drawings and paintings attracted steadfast recognition of excellence and were exhibited with numerous religious, cultural, and educational organizations. This exhibition invites the public to experience for the first time, the comprehensive scope of Allan Crite's remarkable stories.