Museum Featuring Westervelt CEO Jack Warner's Collection Will Close, and More Art Sold

“Dawn Before Gettysburg” by Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
“Dawn Before Gettysburg” by Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
(Tuscaloosa Museum of Art)
  • Thomas Cole’s 1826 “The Falls of Kaaterskill,” formerly in the Westervelt Co.  collection and possibly sold to a private collection.

    Thomas Cole’s 1826 “The Falls of Kaaterskill,” formerly in the Westervelt Co. collection and possibly sold to a private collection.

    Wikimedia Commons

The Tuscaloosa Museum of Art in Alabama, housing the renowned collection of 17th-20th century American and Asian fine art, furniture and decorative arts formed by the late Westervelt Company CEO Jack Warner, will close on Aug. 31.

In a statement the museum noted: "While The Westervelt Company will maintain a core selection of art, most notably early American and nature themed pieces, the remaining collection will be prepared for shipment." 

"Works from the collection will be prepared for shipment to private buyers," ARTFIXdaily was told by Susan Poole, corporate communications manager for the Westervelt Company.

Warner died last year at age 99. From the 1950s, he was CEO and chairman of Gulf States Paper Corp., which became the Westervelt Co. after his retirement. He ceded control of the company (and its art collection) to his son.

Warner had employed corporate (and some personal funds) over several decades to create one of the greatest private collections of American art, featuring seminal Hudson River School, Impressionist and Modernist paintings; notable Duncan Phyfe furniture; and more. The exquisite landscape by Frederic Edwin Church, “Above the Clouds at Sunrise” was the cover image of the 2002 book/exhibition catalog An American Odyssey about Warner's collection.

The Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art housed thousands of artworks from 2002 until 2011, and then the collection was partly deaccessioned and the rest moved to the corporation's Tuscaloosa Museum of Art.

Many key artworks in the collection were sold off, at Christie's in May 2011 (16 of 29 lots offered did not sell) and in private sales, including Asher B. Durand’s “Progress (The Advance of Civilization),” Thomas Cole’s “The Falls of Kaaterskill,” Daniel Garber’s “Tanis" (subsequently gifted by Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest to Philadelphia Museum of Art), and Frederick Carl Frieseke's "Sunspots.

Read more about Warner's collection and the saga of two paintings on Paul Stein's blog post from 2014, "Two American Treasures, Sold."

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