The Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM) is honored to announce the dedication of The Samuel Hester Crone Gallery, the gift of William S. Huff.

in a meadow north of Bozen
Samuel H. Crone, August 1905

in a meadow north of Bozen


A long-standing friend to the University, Huff generously donated his extensive Crone archive and art collection with an endowment for its preservation and study. An exhibition of the Crone drawings is currently on display. Huff still lives with and enjoys the paintings, but will reunite the collection.

The generous gift establishes the Art Museum at the University of Memphis as a leading authority on this talented Tennessean whose work has also been displayed at the Carnegie Mellon Institute of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art and Heimatmuseum in Polling, Bavaria.

The Huff collection began when he was a young man and his mother presented him with 200 drawings by Crone, a great-uncle through marriage about whom little was known except for family lore. Huff's effort to learn about his great-uncle led him across Europe and to Crone family members in Memphis. Over time, Huff acquired more of Crone's work as he discovered it. AMUM is in the process of developing an in-depth online resource cataloging known works and historical information. The museum is committed to the rich artistic legacy of our region by providing access, research and preservation of our cultural heritage.

Samuel Hester Crone was born 1858 in Columbia, Tennessee, and moved to Memphis at an early age. At 17, he left Memphis to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany. He spent nearly four decades moving around Europe as a professional artist whose works were sold in commercial galleries. In 1913, he returned to the United States, but died of pneumonia only a few days later. Though he made a living as an artist, his unexpected death resulted in the loss of knowledge about most of his European paintings; thus, the drawings are the most complete record of his work—along with Huff's extraordinary research.

"The drawings are absolutely wonderful," states AMUM Director Leslie Luebbers. "Even the quickest little line sketches are pretty glorious. They range in style from his earliest kind of academic paintings to expressionist landscapes. In particular, a series illustrating the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 is spectacularly expressive."

Highlights of this remarkable collection of more than 250 drawings will be on view in AMUM Aug. 1 through Sept. 19, 2015. We are sincerely grateful and excited to celebrate this wonderful resource with the Mid-South Region with the first named gallery in the museum.