The Philadelphia Museum of Art has announced a bequest of more than fifty works of American art and an endowment gift of $10 million from Daniel W. Dietrich II, who died last September.
The bequest includes works by contemporary artists such as Cy Twombly, Philip Guston, Agnes Martin, Eva Hesse, and Paul Thek; major twentieth-century American artists including Edward Hopper, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and Horace Pippin; and nineteenth-century Philadelphia realist Thomas Eakins. Hopper's Road and Trees (1962) and a closely related charcoal drawing will be the first examples of his work in the museum's collection. Among the works by Eakins are several photographs of Walt Whitman that served as studies for an oil portrait and the frontispiece of Leaves of Grass.
To be established with the $10 million cash gift, the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fund for Excellence in Contemporary Art will support programming and encourage innovation and experimentation in the field; pay for maintenance of the Dietrich's bequest; and enable the museum to complete the acquisition of the Paul Strand Collection, resulting in the addition of more than three thousand works by the photographer to its collection.
An heir to a family conglomerate, Dietrich was a longtime member of the museum's contemporary art committee and supported many local cultural institutions, including the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and the Association for Public Art.
"The establishment of the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fund for Excellence in Contemporary Art is a landmark in the history of the Museum's commitment to this field," said Carlos Basualdo, the museum's Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. "It will enable us to innovate, take risks, and build capacity by developing ambitious exhibitions and programs, presenting the collection in new ways, and working collaboratively with artists."