The Bowdoin College Museum of Art has received a large and significant gift to its permanent collection from print collector Charles Pendexter, a resident of Brunswick, Maine, where the museum is located.
Totaling more than 1,500 prints and eight drawings, the Pendexter collection expands the breadth of Bowdoin’s already rich print holdings, increasing them by 20 percent. The gift features masterpieces by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Édouard Manet and Giorgio Morandi, among many others, and multiple works by Hendrick Goltzius and Honoré Daumier.
Among the highlights are rare first editions of Francisco de Goya’s Disasters of War and Proverbios series, dating from the early 19th century.
Consideration for the future of his prints prompted Mr. Pendexter to give his collection to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. He has always applauded the Museum’s commitment to the collecting and study of prints, an area of focus cultivated by previous directors Katharine Watson and Katy Kline, and continued by Kevin Salatino, current director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and former curator of prints and drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Mr. Pendexter sees Bowdoin as a fitting home for his sweeping collection, knowing the valuable resource it will become for teaching and research.
A native of Maine, Charles Pendexter is a retired research geologist for the Exxon Corporation. Over the course of his career he traveled widely, collecting master prints in cities around the world for the next 50 years.
David Becker, print curator, fellow collector, and Museum donor, enthused, “Charles’s gift is remarkably wide-ranging, adding immeasurably to the reach of the Museum’s holdings.” He noted that Mr. Pendexter has a “deep love and knowledge of prints that is revealed in the depth of his vision, especially in such favorite themes as the pastoral landscape tradition, or the muscular forms and movement of European baroque printmaking.”
Museum Director Salatino said, “Charles’s prints join rich holdings of works on paper at Bowdoin, now made exponentially richer by the generosity of one remarkable man. This truly outstanding gift is an exemplary act of selflessness that recognizes that a great collection is greatest when kept intact, and when shared with the largest possible audience.”
Highlights from this gift will be showcased in the summer exhibition Scratching the Surface: Master Prints from the Charles Pendexter Collection, on view in the Becker Gallery, June 16–August 29, 2010.