Marcia Weber wasn’t supposed to be a gallery owner. Her plan was to teach.
But while working at the Montgomery Museum of Art, that plan went by the wayside.
The Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., was planning a landmark exhibition of American black folk art, and the museum curators were having trouble helping Montgomery artist Mose Tolliver prepare.
“His vocabulary, his Southern accent, was a little difficult for some of the curators there at the time,” she said. “I was very lucky that I got to go and meet Mose and spend a good bit of time with him.”
At a post-show reception, first lady Nancy Reagan let it slip that she had acquired two of Tolliver’s paintings for the private quarters of the White House. A flood of fan mail followed, along with requests to purchase his work. Weber stepped in, continuing to visit Tolliver at his home to help him read and answer mail. (Tolliver couldn’t read.)
“I would write on the bottom of the letter what he would tell me to write and send it back to the people and then they would send money to Mose,” she recalled. “In essence, I began to help him, really just as a friend.”
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