“This gift is unprecedented in its scale and quality, and these works will further define The New Bruce as a museum that explores the global histories of modern and contemporary art,” said Robert Wolterstorff, Executive Director and CEO of The Bruce. Museum, Susan E. Lynch. “We are deeply grateful to the donors of these magnificent works, who have actively supported the Greenwich community for decades and can now be assured that their generosity will inspire and educate generations to come.”
Coming at a transformative time for the Bruce Museum, the announcement of the promised collection accompanies a major leadership grant donors have given to the New Bruce Building Campaign. The $60 million renovation and expansion project will double the size of the existing building and create modern, spacious new galleries for exhibitions and installations, as well as state-of-the-art spaces for education and community events.
The New Bruce is scheduled to open in March 2023, with the addition of over 12,000 square feet of gallery space in the William L. Richter Art Wing, including a 4,500 square foot gallery for temporary exhibitions and five new galleries for the growing permanent art collection. The museum’s curator of art, Margarita Karasoulas, who joined the Bruce in November after serving as assistant curator of American art at the Brooklyn Museum, will curate an installation of selected works loaned from the donation to celebrate the grand opening of the New Bruce. . At the time the donation is made, the works will be exhibited in a dedicated gallery in the Museum’s Richter Art Wing.
Viewed as a whole, the collection focuses primarily on the European and American figurative tradition from the 1870s to the 1990s, beginning with the watercolors of Winslow Homer boy on the dock (1873) and Anglers Winding Tackle (1881), the latter of his important Cullercoats series, and ending with the watercolor by Andrew Wyeth Cape May (1992). Andrew Wyeth is also represented by two tempera paintings—Sheep’s skin (1973), from his famous Helga series, and the huntress (1978), a bright interior depicting another model, Siri Erickson. These are complemented by exceptional watercolors and graphite drawings by the artist.
Among the works in the collection are singular masterpieces. by Edward Hopper Two comedians (1966), the artist’s last work, depicts the painter and his wife Josephine disguised as clowns, or commedia dell’artecharacters, on stage in a dark setting. A second Hopper oil, Cavalier Path (1939) shows a trio of horsemen in Central Park. Another highlight of the collection is Mary Cassatt’s two little sisters (c. 1901-02), which is complemented by a group of very important color etchings by Cassatt with aquatint, which stand as icons of graphic art, groundbreaking works that conveyed the aesthetics of the Japanese color prints in the Impressionist idiom.
Included are works by French Impressionist master Camille Pissarro, including Gisors Market, Grande-Rue (The Gisors Market, on the Grande-Rue, 1885) and Haymaking in Eragny (Haymaking in Éragny, 1891), both created in the years when Pissarro was most influenced by the pointillist technique of his friend Georges Seurat.
The collection is particularly rich in sculpture, notably that of Alberto Giacometti Woman sitting (Woman sitting, 1956); several sculptures on various supports by Elie Nadelman, including circus performer in painted wood (circa 1919); and bronzes by American sculptor Harriet Frishmuth, including The star (1918). Several bronzes by Henry Moore, spanning a period of more than 30 years, include the early family group (1946). Together, they will place the Bruce Museum at the forefront of public collections of Moore’s work in the United States.
Other highlights of the promised gift include oils and watercolors by Childe Hassam, including Rainy day on the avenue (1893) and The white dory (1895); The superb oil of John Singer Sargent peach girl (1913); a delicious Joan Miró oil, Women and birds in the night (Women and bird in the night, 1946); an extremely rare watercolor from Pablo Picasso’s blue period, The guitarist (Guitarist, 1903); and a bold abstract watercolor by Wassily Kandinsky, Rose rot (Red rose1927).
“It’s an extraordinarily rich collection that will transform the Bruce Museum, giving us a deep interest in European and American impressionism, modernism and realism,” Wolterstorff said. “This visionary gift will make The Bruce a place to be discovered again and again. Works like these will become old friends that you seek out on every visit. And they will become essential to our education and our public programs. Great works of art like these will change your life, the life of your children, the life of this community.
“We collected these works of art simply because we think they are beautiful and we enjoy seeing them every day in our homes,” the donors said. “We’ve lived in Greenwich for a long time and what better place to share our collection with the community than the exciting New Bruce.”
James B. Lockhart III, Chairman of the Bruce Museum Board of Trustees added, “On behalf of my fellow trustees and all who love the Bruce Museum, I am sincerely touched by the generosity, foresight and selflessness of this local family. Donating this exceptional collection is truly a game-changer for the Museum and our community. We also hope that this couple’s commitment to the future of the Bruce will inspire others to endow the Museum with their own philanthropic support and to consider donating artwork to the permanent collection.
About the Bruce Museum
Located in Bruce Park overlooking Greenwich Harbour, The Bruce Museum is a world-class community institution that offers a changing range of exhibits and educational programs to promote understanding and appreciation of art and science.
For more than a century, the Bruce Museum has delighted and engaged its visitors by presenting exceptional exhibits on art, science and the intersections between the two disciplines. Ahead of its time when textile merchant Robert Moffat Bruce (1822-1909) designed the museum and bequeathed the building to the City of Greenwich in 1908, the museum is at the heart of contemporary efforts to bring art and culture together. science, technology and creativity. , creating moments of discovery and dialogue. The first exhibition at the Bruce Museum was in 1912 and featured works by local artists known as the Greenwich Society of Artists, several of whom were members of the Cos Cob Art Colony. Their works formed the core of the Museum’s art collections and continue to be the strength of a collection that has grown to focus on world art from 1850 to the present day. Other highlights include ancient Chinese sculpture, Native American art, the Hudson River School, modernist works on paper, and photography. Over the years, the community, through its generosity, has built the Museum’s varied collection to nearly 25,000 objects. The first directors of the Museum pursued a parallel development of the natural sciences, strengthening the collections of minerals and birds.
In 2019, the AAM-accredited museum broke ground on its current expansion project, which will take the building from 33,000 to over 70,000 square feet. The New Bruce will feature state-of-the-art exhibition, education and community spaces, including: a changing art gallery and five new permanent galleries in the new William L. Richter Art Wing; a changing gallery for science; a new permanent scientific exhibition, Natural cycles shape our earth; three new classrooms in the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Education Wing; and a bistro, auditorium and large hall. The new building connects the Museum to its scenic Bruce Park setting in a dramatic new way. The new Bruce campus will feature a landscaped walking path lined with sculptures and inviting spaces for relaxation and contemplation – natural enhancements to Bruce Park and an anchor connection to the Greenwich Avenue Mall. The official opening of the New Bruce is scheduled for spring 2023.