A Passion for Collecting:
The Shirley and Donald Rose Gift

Gift of Dr. Shirley Rose and Dr. Donald Rose, 2023

October 7 – 15, 2023

In the years immediately following the surge of American Abstract Expressionism, Dr. Shirley Rose and her husband Dr. Don Rose began an eclectic art collection largely selected from art galleries in Houston and New York City. Generously gifted to Public Art University of Houston System, these nineteen works from the Rose collection consist mainly of works on paper including photography, silkscreens, lithographs, collage, and exceptional original drawings. The University is pleased to receive this generous gift and happy to share the Rose’s love of the arts with students and the wider community.

As a collector, Rose sought the advice of trusted professionals such as Houston gallerist Charles Epstein and curator Anne Tucker, both of whom she credits with infusing her with the passion for collecting. After years of carefully choosing special pieces with which she found a personal connection, Rose found that she had inadvertently collected with a theme of bold black and white. An example of this is her first collected piece, an original pencil drawing by Larry Rivers titled Ace of Spades. Later, works by modern masters such as Robert Motherwell, Joan Miró, and Henry Moore filled her home. Rose equally collected the most celebrated local Texas artists of her era, including Dorothy Hood, James Surls, and Al Souza, among others. A number of female artists with Surrealist tendencies add a hint of mysterious intrigue to the collection, including a rare original drawing by Dorothea Tanning. Recalling her earliest passion for art, Rose remembers the joy she found in the paintings of Jan Vermeer and Henri Matisse, who she designates as her favorites. This enthusiasm later sparked the procurement of a print of one of Matisse’s famous Odalisques, seen here.  

Obtaining three degrees from the University of Houston, and ultimately earning her Ph.D. in Education, Rose spent her career as Superintendent of the Harris County Department of Education. She has graciously served the Houston arts community through such organizations as the Blaffer Art Museum Advisory Board, Moore’s Society Trustee, the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts Dean’s Trustee, the Alley Theatre Board of Advisors, and the University of Houston’s In Tempore Legacy Society. Rose’s gift greatly enhances the University’s Public Art collection and we are thankful for her generosity. This gifting back to her local community and intellectual home highlights Rose’s commitment to the visual arts. 


Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston

4173 Elgin Street, Houston, TX

Opening Night!

Collection Highlights

Leonardo Drew (American, b. 1961)

Untitled, 2009. Wood and paint; 7 x 7 ½ x 3 ½ ”


Anton Ginzburg (American, born Russia, 1974)

White Sea, Russia #48, 2011. Archival inkjet print; 26 ¼  x 19 ¼”

Dorothy Hood (American, 1919-2000)

Untitled–Orange and Red Collage, c. 1994. Mixed media: newsprint, ink, wallpaper, stamp on board; 15 x 18 ½ ” 


Sharon Kopriva (American, b. 1948)

Untitled (Winged Bird/Man Skeleton), 2005. Crayon on paper; 10 ½ x 11”


Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)

Odalisque Au Collier (Demi Nude), 1923. Lithograph; 9 ⅛ x 12”


Josephine Meckseper (German, b. 1964)

Untitled–Face in Tall Buildings, 2010. Chromogenic print; 16 x 16 ”


Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983)

Untitled from Un Poème Dans Chaque Livre, 1956. Soft-ground etching and aquatint in colors; 5 ⅜ x 12”


Robert Motherwell (American, 1915–1991)

In White with Green Stripe, 1987. Aquatint and collage, embossing, and relief print on various handmade papers; 35 x 24”


Henry Moore (British, 1898–1986)

Reclining Nude, 1980. Watercolor, pencil, wax crayon, charcoal, and gouache on paper; 10 x 13”


Larry Rivers (American, 1923-2002)

Smoking, 1980. Colored pencil drawing on paper; 28 ¼  x 24 ⅞

Larry Rivers (American, 1923-2002)

Ace of Spades, 1978. Black pencil and charcoal on acetone paper; 24 x 17 ½ ”


Ben Shahn (American, born Lithuania, 1898-1969)

Rear View of Policeman, c. 1953. Ink on paper; 7 x 4 ¾ ”


Ben Shahn (American, born Lithuania, 1898-1969)

Untitled, study for November Twenty Six Nineteen Hundred Sixty Three, 1963. Gouache and ink on paper; image: 5 x 6 ⅜; poem: 5 ⅝ x 5 ¾ 


Al Souza (American, b. 1944)

Italian Castle, 1996. Puzzle pieces, glue on Masonite; 15 x 21”

Donald Sultan (American, b. 1951)

Black Flowers, 1996. Lithograph on Somerset satin paper; 22 x 29”


Donald Sultan (American, b. 1951)

(Green) Apples and (Black) Egg, 2000. Screen-print in color on paper; 35 x 35” 


Donald Sultan (American, b. 1951)

Smoke Rings, 1999. Iris print; 27 x 20”


James Surls (American, b. 1943)

Flowers–Looking Deep, 1988. Linocut; 26 ⅜ x 37 ⅛ ”


Dorothea Tanning American, 1910-2012

Overtime, 1986. Watercolor, pencil, ink on paper; 9 ¼  x 13 ¾ ”


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