Emily Fisher Landau Presents Major Gift to the Whitney Museum

Gift includes seminal works by Carl Andre, Willem de Kooning, William Eggleston, Peter Hujar, Jasper Johns, Glenn Ligon, Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Susan Rothenberg, Ed Ruscha, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol – Whitney exhibition planned for early 2011

New York – Emily Fisher Landau, the noted philanthropist and art collector, and one of the Whitney’s most generous trustees, has made an important gift of 367 works of art, including works from the Fisher Landau Center for Art, that have been pledged to the Museum, it was announced today by Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The gift comprises works in all media by nearly one hundred key figures in American art, including Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Carroll Dunham, William Eggleston, Peter Hujar, Jasper Johns, Glenn Ligon, Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, Susan Rothenberg, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol. An exhibition with an accompanying catalogue is planned for early 2011.

Mr. Weinberg noted, “Emily has been a dear friend and supporter of the Whitney for nearly forty years, and a trustee since 1987. Her commitment—to artists, to the artistic imagination, to exploring the new, and to the Whitney Museum—is unwavering. We are delighted that she has chosen the Whitney as the home for so much of her stunning collection and we thank Emily and her family for all they’ve done for the Museum over the last several decades. This spectacular gift came about through the involvement of our Chairman Emeritus, Leonard A. Lauder, who has been working with Emily for many years towards this landmark acquisition for the museum. This superb donation helps ensure that the Whitney will continue to flourish for many more decades to come.”

Emily Fisher Landau commented, “I’m delighted to see these works go to the Whitney, an institution close to my heart, and want to acknowledge Leonard Lauder and Amy Cappellazzo for their friendship and wise counsel.”

The works in the Fisher Landau donation range in date from a 1950 Robert Rauschenberg photograph of Jasper Johns in his studio to a 2006 etching by Lisa Yuskavage. The gift serves to fill important gaps in the museum’s holdings as well as supplement current areas of depth. Among the many highlights of the gift are the following:

• Seven works by Carl Andre, including a selection of his seminal typewriter drawings and poems of the early 1960s and the large-scale sculptures, 28 Lead Rectangle (1968) and Paraglyph (1989);

• A total of twelve works by Richard Artschwager, ranging in date from 1977 to 2002 and including one of his most monumental paintings, City of Man (1981), which spans almost fifteen feet;

• Four works by John Baldessari, including What This Painting Aims to Do (1967), a prime example of his important early text paintings;

• A selection of eight 1980s works by Carroll Dunham, including a pair of his early breakthrough paintings on wood veneer;

• A complete set of William Eggleston’s photographic portfolio From the Seventies: Volume Two (Untitled), which contains some of Eggleston’s best-known images;

• Fifteen photographs by Peter Hujar, ranging in date from 1975 to 1985, including iconic portraits of Andy Warhol, Diana Vreeland, Susan Sontag, and Robert Wilson;

• Forty-four works by Jasper Johns, including the first of the artist’s recent Catenary paintings to enter the museum’s comprehensive holdings of his work, as well as a complete set of the thirty-one screenprints he made between 1968 and 1982;

• Two works by Willem de Kooning, a 1952 Woman drawing and a noteworthy 1987 painting, Untitled, which becomes the latest de Kooning canvas in the Whitney’s collection;

• Nineteen early works by Glenn Ligon, who will be the subject of a Whitney retrospective in 2011, including one of the very first of Ligon’s Richard Pryor paintings, which constitutes one of his most important series;

• A total of eighteen works by Robert Rauschenberg, ranging in date from 1950 to 1988/91, among them the large 1974 work PULL (Hoarfrost Suite), in which he applied his solvent transfer process to fabric;

• Four works by James Rosenquist, including House of Fire II, a mural-size work from 1982;

• Seven works by Susan Rothenberg from the early 1980s, including the key painting Tuning Fork (1980);

• Six works by Ed Ruscha, ranging in date from 1965 to 2002, among them two important canvases, Give Him Anything and He’ll Sign It (1965), one of his wry bird paintings, and Lion in Oil (2002), from the artist’s recent series of mountain paintings;

• Five works by Kiki Smith, ranging in date from 1994 to 2006, including Arm with Mushrooms and Head with Bird I (Side), both from 1994;

In addition to the works mentioned above, the gift also includes significant paintings by Burgoyne Diller, Agnes Martin, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol; the earliest Robert Gober sculpture to enter in the Whitney’s collection; a lyrical Martin Puryear work in cedar and pine; and a large mixed-media installation by Lorna Simpson.

Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Associate Director for Programs, said, “In addition to showcasing the best of American art, this gift speaks to Emily’s enterprising vision and longtime support of artists, often from the start of their careers. It is a perfect fit with the Whitney’s own collecting history and mission.”

Emily Fisher Landau began collecting art in the 1960s; since the early 1980s she has focused on building an important collection of contemporary American art. In 1985, she provided funds for the Whitney to purchase a painting by Burgoyne Diller. Among the other works that she has given or enabled the Whitney to purchase is a landmark painting by Georgia O’Keeffe (Music – Pink and Blue II) (1919). In 2002, she made a partial and promised gift of a recent painting by Ruscha, and made a promised gift of a large-scale painting by Cy Twombly. With the present donation, the gift of these two landmark paintings is being completed.

The Whitney Museum is located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York City.

For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org

Image: Emily Fisher Landau, photographed by Matthew Roberts, in front of Andy Warhol’s The Shadow (1981)