As a federal employee, Paul Jones worked to ease racial tensions during the Civil Rights Movement. But he’s known not because of his work, instead for collecting the work of others. The Atlanta businessman is renowned for his art collection.
The Paul R. Jones Collection of black art is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Art & Antiques magazine has called Jones “one of the top art collectors in the country.” He has acquired work from more than 600 artists, including Jacob Lawrence, Carrie Mae Weems and Selma Burke, who created the image of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the dime.
Early in his collecting career, Jones noticed that black art was under-represented in public collections. After much research, he found several young African-American artists whose work he wanted to support.
For more than 40 years, Jones has collected black art. The Universities of Delaware and Alabama have used his collection to help promote the study of black art and culture in America. Experts say Jones’ collection is worth more than 4 million dollars.