The Seattle Art Museum has announced a gift of nineteen Abstract Expressionist works from the collection of the late Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis.
Made through the Friday Foundation, which owns the Langs' collection and is dedicated to celebrating the couple's legacy, the gift features sixteen paintings, one drawing, and two sculptures by a number of different artists, including Francis Bacon, Helen Frankenthaler, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still. According to the Seattle Times, the works collectively are estimated by Sotheby's Americas to be worth $400 million.
The foundation also awarded $10.5 million in dedicated funds in support of the museum's post-war and contemporary art conservation programs, the purchase of art conservation equipment, and costs related to the maintenance, presentation, and documentation of the Lang Collection. The gift includes an endowment for the museum's chief conservator position and $200,000 to launch an acquisition fund that will enable the museum to acquire artworks without having to wait for distributions of endowment.
Longtime supporters of the museum, Richard E. Lang served on its board from 1972 until his death in 1982, while Jane Lang Davis joined the board in 1985 and became a lifetime honorary trustee in 2000.
"This gift of all-star works will transform SAM's collection of post-war artists from a beautiful collection of soloists into a symphony," said Catharina Manchanda, Jon & Mary Shirley Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. "In addition, the soaring paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, and Joan Mitchell will allow us to put the achievements of female artists of this generation front and center, while the paintings of Francis Bacon and the iconic sculpture by Alberto Giacometti are nothing short of game-changers for SAM."
The foundation also announced a gift of six drawings and paintings by Rothko and Franz Kline to the Yale University Art Gallery, further strengthening the two artists' representation in Yale's collection.
"We are grateful to the Friday Foundation for this extraordinary gift of art that will expand the ways the Yale University Art Gallery can present, research, and teach with great works of modern art," said Stephanie Wiles, the gallery's Henry J. Heinz II Director. "Jane Lang Davis and Richard E. Lang's superb collection was a very personal one, and we are honored that the Friday Foundation chose Yale to honor their legacy with this transformative gift of six paintings and drawings by Mark Rothko and Franz Kline."
(Photo credit: Friday Foundation)