The gift of art includes more than thirty pieces from the personal collection of artist Barnett Newman, who died in 1970, and his widow, Annalee, including works by Adolph Gottlieb, John Graham, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Camille Pissarro, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Aaron Siskind, Saul Steinberg, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, and Newman himself. The gift also includes one work each by more than forty artists who were recipients of the Barnett and Annalee Newman Award — given annually since 2004 to artists who exemplify Newman's values and his spirit of artistic independence and individuality — which will be purchased with funds from the Newman Foundation and gifted to the museum.
The gift of $10 million includes an endowment for the museum's first curatorial position dedicated to contemporary art, funds for the care and exhibition of the collection, and a promised gift for future institutional use. Former associate curator Kelly Taxter has been named the first Barnett and Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art. A series of exhibitions drawn from the gift will be on view at the museum beginning in 2019.
"We are honored that the Jewish Museum was chosen for this extraordinary gift, and we believe that this is the right home for the collection, given Barnett Newman's connection to his heritage, one that valued intellectualism and activism," said Claudia Gould, Helen Goldsmith Menschel director of the museum. "This gift allows the museum to expand our contemporary art collection in a significant and meaningful way while celebrating the legacy of such an influential artist."
(Jasper Johns, Untitled, 1991 © Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo by Kris Graves, courtesy of the Jewish Museum)