Banker's Collection of Native American Art Donated to SF Museums

  • April 01, 2014 12:01

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L: Serape, ca. 1865. United States, Southwest, Navajo. Wool; tapestry weave. The Weisel Family Art Foundation, L12.103.2. M: Serape, ca. 1850. United States, Southwest, Navajo. Wool; tapestry weave. The Weisel Family Art Foundation, L12.103.20 R: Poncho serape, ca. 1830. United States, Southwest, Navajo. Wool; tapestry weave. The Weisel Family Art Foundation, L12.103.16

Bay Area financier Thomas W. Weisel is known for his tech investments. His name has been linked to sports controversies and triumphs. And Weisel, a trustee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, is also an avid collector whose vast trove of artworks has sometimes made headlines, such as a 2002 sale of $33 million in Abstract Expressionist works, and now with a major gift. 

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco has announced a gift of more than 200 top-notch examples of American Indian artifacts from the Thomas W. Weisel Family Art Foundation, greatly enhancing the holdings of its Art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas department. A monetary value for the gift was not disclosed.

Southwest textiles from the early 19th century and rare ceramics, some over 1,000 years old, are highlights of the Weisel collection. The Fine Arts Museums will exhibit approximately a third of the gift in "Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection," opening at the de Young Museum on May 3.

On view will be the indigenous arts of the American Southwest, featuring 11th-century Mimbres ceramics alongside masterful classic Navajo weavings from the mid to late 19th century and 20th-century works by recognized artists such as the ceramicist Nampeyo of Hano Pueblo. Singular pieces from the Northwest Coast and the first Plains ledger drawings to enter the permanent collection will also be shown.


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