The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art and the School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University have announced an estate gift with an estimated value of nearly $4 million from William Itter, painter, collector, and IU professor emeritus of fine arts.
The gift includes a collection of more than five hundred ethnographic objects consisting primarily of African ceramics, textiles, and baskets that Itter and his late wife, Diane, a pioneering fiber artist, began collecting in the 1970s. The gift also includes funds to establish the William and Diane Itter Museum of Art Conservation and Research Endowment, enabling the museum to either hire an objects conservator or conduct further research into the museum's collections. A new objects viewing room, which is being developed as part of a $30 million renovation, will be named in honor of the couple.
Itter's gift to the School of Art, Architecture + Design will fund two graduate teaching awards and four graduate fellowships that will be named in honor of Bill and Diane, who earned an MFA at IU and was an IU fine arts faculty member.
"For more than thirty-five years, Bill passionately taught generations of artists at Indiana University, as did his late wife, Diane," said David A. Brenneman, the Wilma E. Kelley director of the Eskenazi Museum of Art. "Together they have made tremendous contributions to the art world through teaching about, collecting, and creating works of art. We are grateful to be stewards of their tremendous collection, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to conduct new research on our collection and preserve works of art for generations to study and enjoy."