Saint Louis Art Museum Receives Collection Worth More Than $50 Million

The Saint Louis Art Museum has announced a gift of two hundred and twenty-five works of art valued at more than $50 million from the collection of the late C.C. Johnson Spink and Edith "Edie" Spink.

The bequest includes works by American masters such as John Singleton Copley, Rembrandt Peale, Norman Rockwell, and Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, as well as more than two hundred works of Asian art ranging from Chinese ceramics of the Neolithic period to works from Meiji-era Japan. The Spink Asian Art Collection, which was developed with the intent of addressing gaps in SLAM's collection that the museum itself could not afford to fill, is valued at $50 million and includes eighty-three ceramics, eight works in glass, fifty-two jades and hardstones, twenty-two items made from lacquer and other organic materials, and fifty examples of metalwork.

Important works in the collection by American artists include "George Washington," a bust-length portrait from about 1845 by Rembrandt Peale; "Thanksgiving," an iconic 1943 painting by Norman Rockwell; "Hot Stove League," a 1956 painting by Rockwell; and the watercolors "Glass Lamps” and "Open Door" by Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009) and "Butts and Cattle Rubbed" by Jamie Wyeth, Andrew's son.

Charles Claude Johnson Spink, who died in 1992 at the age of 75, was the publisher of the Sporting News and the last Spink to own the national sports publication, which was started by his family in 1886. His wife, Edith, served as mayor of Ladue, Missouri, from 1975 to 1995. She died in 2011 at the age of 90.

"This extraordinary gift is the result of three decades of strategic collecting by Johnson and Edie, who were guided by a shared desire to expand and elevate the museum’s collection," said the museum's director, Brent R. Benjamin. "I am grateful for their generosity, and all of us at the museum are excited to include their legacy as an essential part of our visitors' experience."

"Art Museum Announces Transformative Gift of Asian and American Art." St. Louis Art Museum Press Release 11/04/2014.