Sande Webster

Sande Webster, In Memoriam

Sande Webster Brantley, an iconic art seller who made a significant impact on the visibility of Black artists for decades, died this week. She was 89.

Mrs. Brantley was the owner of the Sande Webster Gallery, which helped to foster the careers of many regional Black artists — from Syd Carpenter, Moe Brooker, and Barkley Hendricks to Sam Gilliam, Charles Searles, Richard Watson and her husband, James Brantley. The couple had been together for 37 years.

The Philadelphia art scene was illuminated by Sande Webster for more than four decades. In the early days of her career, Webster and three partners started a gallery called Wallnuts, and later she founded her own eponymous gallery which quickly became known for its focus on Black artists.

Despite being white, Webster was instrumental in forming Recherché, a small collective of Black artists seeking to gain more visibility. She arranged international exhibitions for Black artists as a result of her work. She played a significant role in promoting photography, ceramics, and textile art as an art form, and most notably, providing continuous exposure to African American artists.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Moe Brooker, who died earlier this year and was represented by the Webster Gallery for more than 20 years, said no galleries in the city had been willing to show African American artists before Sande Webster.

Having survived several recessions, Webster shut down her groundbreaking Rittenhouse Square location in 2011 and conducted art consultations from her home, where those interested in art could view art without being surrounded by walls. She remained active on the art scene until the last months of her life.

Sande Webster

Prior to her passing, she wrote: “My time in the Art world has brought magic to my life!”

Sande Webster Brantley will be remembered on Sunday, October 9, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

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