Rose Art Museum receives major donation

Eleven lithographs by Ellsworth Kelly among substantial donation from Stephen M. Salny

Ellsworth Kelly, Dartmouth, 2011. © Ellsworth Kelly and Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles

Christopher Bedford, Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, has announced that Baltimore businessman, author, and collector Stephen M. Salny has made a promised gift to the museum of 48 works on paper created by some of today’s leading contemporary artists, including 11 lithographs by Ellsworth Kelly. Among the other artists represented in the gift are Josef Albers, Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Damien Hirst, Jasper Johns, Sol LeWitt, Brice Marden, Robert Motherwell, and Sean Scully.

Salny’s gift will augment strengths of the Rose Art Museum collection, which includes paintings and other works by some of the artists included, notably Kelly, Johns, Motherwell, and Frankenthaler, while also extending its holdings in new directions, including the first work by Hirst to by acquired by the museum.

“Steve’s vision goes to the heart of what the Rose Art Museum’s holdings represent, “ said Bedford. “Featuring some of the best artists of the postwar era, his collection gathers works of extraordinary passion held in balance with uncommon elegance. It will enrich our exhibitions and ability to serve as a center of research and instruction in postwar modern and contemporary art.” 

Central to the promised donation are 11 lithographs by Kelly, dating from 1970 to 2012, including "Blue-Green" (1970), "Green Curve" (1999), and "Dartmouth" (2011). Their addition to the collection will allow the museum to showcase the artist’s achievement in works dating across 50 years, beginning with his landmark 1962 painting, "Blue White," a centerpiece of the collection. An exhibition of works from Salny’s gift along with the Rose’s existing holdings by Kelly will be on view February 12 – June 5, 2016.

Other highlights include: 

Four prints by Motherwell: "Djarum" (1975), "Red Open with White Line" (1979), "Summer Trident" (1990), and "The Black Wall" (1981). Motherwell’s work is of particular importance to the museum, which holds his canvas "Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No. 58" (1957-61).

Frankenthaler’s aquatint "Ganymede" (1978) and etching "Sunshine after Rain" (1987). Frankenthaler, a major printmaker throughout most of her career, was recently featured in the Rose’s “groundbreaking show” (Roberta Smith, New York Times), Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler.

Brandeis has a special meaning to Salny. His grandfather, Samuel M. Salny, was active as a friend of the university from the days of its 1948 founding.  Samuel and his wife Rae established one of Brandeis’s earliest Endowed Fellowships for graduate studies for the then young university. June Salny, the donor’s mother, exposed him to the arts at an early age, in part through programs led by Lois Foster at the Rose Art Museum. “It is because of this seminal affiliation with Brandeis, and my appreciation for my visits to the Rose Art Museum, which started at a young age, that inspired me to bequest my collection of contemporary prints to the Rose,” said Salny. Among other works, he is the author of "The Country Houses of David Adler, Frances Elkins: Interior Design, and William Hodgins Interiors." He sits on the Board of the Foundation for Art & Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) as well as on the accessions committee for contemporary art at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  

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