. January 14, 2016

Legacy Gift Comprises 225 Works of Studio Art Glass, Paintings, and Sculptures by Northwest and International Artists

Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) announced today that Becky Benaroya has bequeathed the collection that she and her late husband Jack Benaroya carefully assembled during their 70 years of marriage.

Stanislav Libenský (Czech, 1921-2002), Jaroslava Brychtová (Czech, born 1924), Green Eye of the Pyramid III, 1993-94. Mold-melted and cut glass, 33 × 40 × 8 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis

Stanislav Libenský (Czech, 1921-2002), Jaroslava Brychtová (Czech, born 1924), Green Eye of the Pyramid III, 1993-94. Mold-melted and cut glass, 33 × 40 × 8 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis

The collection of 225 works includes Northwestern and international studio art glass along with important paintings and sculptures by renowned regional artists. The gift, announced on Mrs. Benaroya’s 93rd birthday, includes a contribution for the construction of a new 7,390 square-foot gallery addition in which to present the collection, an endowment fund for its care, and funds for a dedicated curator. The contribution to support the gift totals nearly $14 million. TAM’s expanding collection further establishes the Pacific Northwest as the nation’s art glass epicenter.

The new wing will be designed by award-winning architect Tom Kundig of Seattle-based Olson Kundig and is projected to open in fall 2018. It will house 5,700 square feet of gallery space, in addition to 1,690 square feet for public facilities and support functions. Tom Kundig successfully completed TAM’s Haub Family Galleries in November 2014.

“We’re deeply honored and grateful for this incredible gift to Tacoma,” said Stephanie Stebich, TAM Executive Director. “We are very pleased to celebrate Becky’s generosity and this exemplary collection with a preview exhibition in October 2016, to give everyone a taste of what is to come when the new galleries open. For Becky to make this extraordinary gift to the public on her birthday is inspiring and we are forever grateful.”

The Benaroya’s gift includes 150 exceptional works in glass, bringing TAM’s glass holdings to nearly 1,000 pieces and placing it among the most important studio art glass collections in the nation. It complements TAM’s permanent retrospective of Dale Chihuly’s works, Anne Gould Hauberg collection, and Paul Marioni studio glass collection. The works in the Benaroya collection represent “the best of the best of these artists,” according to TAM’s Chief Curator Rock Hushka, including eminent Northwest glass artists Sonja Blomdahl, Dale Chihuly, Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace, Dante Marioni, Paul Marioni, Richard Marquis, Benjamin Moore, William Morris, Charles Parriott, Maxi Powers, Ginny Ruffner, Cappy Thompson, Toots Zynsky, and many more.

The Benaroyas also collected national and international glass artists, often with an association to the influential Pilchuck Glass School, including César Baldaccini, Howard Ben Tré, Kyohei Fujita, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, Marvin Lipofsky, Raymond Martinez, Jay Musler, Seth Randal, Clifford Rainey, Julio Santos, Livio Seguso, Therman Statom, Lino Tagliapietra, and Bertil Vallien, among others. Mrs. Benaroya’s personal passions include the international art deco glass by Daum and Lalique and fiber art by Olga de Omaral and Claire Zeisler.

Additionally, the Benaroya’s gift includes significant paintings by key Northwest artists such as Leo Adams, Guy Anderson, Deborah Butterfield, Kenneth Callahan, Joseph Goldberg, Morris Graves, Paul Horiuchi, Jeffry Mitchell, Mark Tobey, and George Tsutakawa. “We look forward to sharing the full breadth of this gift with our visitors,” added Hushka.

“My son Larry and I were very thoughtful in considering the best placement for the works of art that Jack and I collected. We approached TAM for many reasons; chief among them was the Museum’s focus on Northwest art. We believe that our collection fits beautifully with TAM’s holdings and mission. We also wanted to keep the collection together and in the Northwest,” said Mrs. Benaroya. “Jack especially was passionate about the studio glass movement and we were early supporters. Finding the right home for our works is a very personal matter. This choice reflects and honors Jack’s vision, and now sustains his legacy, to have these works on public view to inspire generations to come. It makes me very happy that he will be remembered in this way.”

This transformative gift advances TAM’s collection strategy of building a premier regional collection that tells the story of the Northwest artistic identity in all its richness and complexity. TAM also collects art from the broader Western region, with more than 300 works of western American art gifted by the Haub family along with $20 million in expansion and endowment funds in 2012.

Underscoring the benefit of the gift within the community, Dale and Leslie Chihuly said, “Our dear friends Jack and Becky Benaroya have long inspired all of us with their generous and loving support of the arts in the region. They have also been devoted benefactors of the Pilchuck Glass School. We are delighted that, after decades of careful and passionate collecting, Becky and the family have decided to gift this important body of work to the Tacoma Art Museum where it can be enjoyed by the public for years to come.”

About Tacoma Art Museum
Celebrating 80 years, Tacoma Art Museum is an anchor in Tacoma’s downtown with a mission of connecting people through art. TAM’s collection contains more than 4,700 works, with an emphasis on the art and artists of the Northwest and broader Western region. The collection includes the largest retrospective museum collection of glass art by Tacoma native Dale Chihuly on permanent view; the most significant collection of studio art jewelry by Northwest artists; key holdings in 19th century European and 20th century American art; and one of the finest collections of Japanese woodblock prints on the West Coast. In 2012, TAM received a gift of more than 300 works of western American art from the Haub Family Collection, one of the premier such collections in the nation and the first major western American art museum collection in the Northwest. The Haub family also contributed $20 million for an endowment and expansion completed in 2014. TAM is located in the heart of Tacoma’s vibrant Museum District of six museums that includes the Museum of Glass, a frequent collaborator.

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Category: Museum News

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