Stanford to receive major collection of 20th c. American art

  • June 14, 2011 16:32

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Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, and their daughter Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, standing in front of Franz Kline, Figure 8, 1952 and Mark Rothko, Pink and White over Red, 1957. Both are works being donated to Stanford University.
Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News

Stanford University will be given a significant donation of 121 paintings and sculpture, including some of the foremost examples of post-World War II American art, from a Bay Area family. With the addition of key works such as Jackson Pollock's "Lucifer" to its holdings, the gift places Stanford in the top-tier of universities with teaching museums.

The donors, Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson of Atherton, Calif., and their daughter, Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, built a prominent collection of postwar American art over the course of 50 years.

The collection is among the most valuable to be donated to any university, according to a statement by Stanford's Lisa Lapin. Represented artists include Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Morris Louis, Agnes Martin, Robert Motherwell, Nathan Oliveira, David Park, Mark Rothko, David Smith, Frank Stella and Wayne Thiebaud.
Besides Pollock's Lucifer, signature works by 86 artists include Willem de Kooning's Woman Standing – Pink, Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park #60, Sam Francis' Red in Red, Philip Guston's The Coat II, Ellsworth Kelly's Black Ripe, Wayne Thiebaud's Candy Counter (1962), Mark Rothko's Untitled - Black on Gray (1969) and Clyfford Still's 1957-J No. 1.
The Anderson Collection will be housed in a new building within Stanford's arts district, adjacent to the Cantor Arts Center, near the Bing Concert Hall now under construction and the planned McMurtry Building for Art and Art History. The Anderson Gallery is anticipated to open in late 2014.
"The collection will be of tremendous academic value and we anticipate that the Anderson Collection at Stanford will quickly become a significant research destination for arts scholars from throughout the world," said Nancy J. Troy, chair of the Department of Art and Art History and the Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art.
The Andersons criteria for collecting was, "Have we seen it before, and could we have thought of it?" They initially collected work by Early Modernists, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse; the German Expressionists, such as Emile Nolde; and the Early American Modernists, such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley and Arthur Dove. By 1969, however, the Andersons had made the bold decision to concentrate exclusively on post-World War II American art.
The family has previously gifted works to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco from their collection of 800 artworks.

"Hopefully, this gift makes a great university greater, and the world a grain of salt better," said the Andersons.

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