Artists’ Portrait Finds A Permanent Home in Greenville Museum of Art

Allen Weiss’ photographic portrait of Frances Speight and Sarah Blakeslee is donated.

June 12, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) – The 1988 black and white portrait of legendary North

1988 portrait of Sarah Blakeslee and Frances Speight by Allen Weiss has been doated to the Greenville NC Museum of Art.

Carolina artists Frances Speight and Sarah Blakeslee by Allen Weiss has been donated to the Greenville Museum of Art to accompany the permanent gallery there honoring the couple, who lived in Greenville.

The portrait was part of a recent exhibition at Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh entitled, “Black & White, Color & Light: Photographs by Allen Weiss and Works by His Subjects.” The exhibition included Weiss’ portraits of 11 of North Carolina’s premiere artists, first shown in 1988 when the collection was commissioned by Melissa Peden, a respected art patron and former gallery owner. All of three of the artists are deceased now, including Speight and Blakeslee.

Marion Johnson Church of Raleigh purchased the Speight and Blakeslee portrait and donated it to the Greenville Museum of Art in honor of her grandson, John Church Bacon, who is retiring from the Museum’s Board of Trustees.

“The gift honors his service to the museum,” said gallery owner Lee Hansley who arranged the sale. Hansley’s gallery hosted the exhibition from March 13 through April 30th originally, then extended it for two more weeks.

Weiss, principal of Allen Weiss: Works on Film & Paper in Raleigh, was delighted to hear about the donation.

“It is always gratifying when someone thinks enough of your work to buy it,” he said. “As someone who has exhibited with other photographers who have work in art institutions, I’ll admit I’ve always been a bit jealous. It means the world to me to know my work is finally in the permanent collection of a museum.”

Lee Hansley Gallery also arranged the sale of six portraits from the show to Johnson Development Associates, Inc. of Spartanburg, SC, to add to the company’s extensive collection of art by Southern artists.

To see the complete collection of Weiss’ black and white portraits of North Carolina artists, go to and click on “Projects & Series.”

For more information on Allen Weiss: Works on Film & Paper, visit

For more information on the Greenville Museum of Art, go to For more information on Lee Hansley Gallery, visit

About Frances Speight and Sarah Blakeslee:

From the Greenville Museum of Art:  “Francis Speight and his wife Sarah Blakeslee are two of the most important artists who lived and worked in North Carolina during the 20th century… Speight taught painting and drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1925 until 1961. In 1936 he married Blakeslee, who had been one of his students at the academy’s Country School at Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. In 1961 they moved to Greenville, North Carolina, where Francis became the artist-in-residence at East Carolina College. Sarah painted and taught adult classes at local art centers.”

About Allen Weiss:

After 15 years as a professional photographer in Raleigh and New York, Allen Weiss turned his attention towards short films, public service announcements and television commercials, both regionally and internationally. Recently, he launched Allen Weiss: Works on Film & Paper to offer still photography of all varieties, film and video (director, DP, cameraman), and freelance writing/branding. For more information visit

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