The Menil Collection in Houston has announced major gifts of modern and contemporary drawings from the collections of board chair Louisa Stude Sarofim and trustee Janie C. Lee.
The works promised to the Menil Drawing Institute — fifty-five drawings each from the two collections — represent the work of forty-one artists, ranging chronologically from Paul Cézanne and Edgar Degas, to Piet Mondrian, Balthus, and Georgia O'Keeffe, to Robert Gober and Terry Winters. Included are fifteen works by Jasper Johns, which, together with the museum's existing holdings, will represent one of the most important public collections of Johns' drawings. To be housed in the institute's new 30,000-square-foot, $40 million building, which is scheduled to open in 2017, the collections also include works by Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, Eva Hesse, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Lee Krasner, Brice Marden, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Claes Oldenburg, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly.
"The word 'transformative' is not adequate to convey the impact of these promised gifts," said David Breslin, the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute. "These are formative gifts that will make the Menil, and the Menil Drawing Institute one of the most important venues in the world for studying drawing in the United States in the postwar period. The legacies of Janie C. Lee and Louisa Stude Sarofim will guide the endeavors of the Menil Drawing Institute and shape its future."