Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - June 17, 2011

Major art donation planned for Stanford

University plans to build Anderson Gallery to house 121 works given by Atherton couple

by Rebecca Wallace

A veritable arts district is burgeoning at Stanford University, with a new building slated to be built to house a major donation of 20th-century American art. Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence have announced that they're donating 121 works by 86 artists including Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.

The university plans to open the Anderson Gallery in late 2014, near the Cantor Arts Center, the under-construction Bing Concert Hall and the planned McMurtry Building for Art and Art History on campus, said Lisa Lapin, assistant vice president for university communications. She described the art collection "as one of the most valuable and significant to be donated to any university."

Of the new gallery, she said: "The site plans are still being worked out. We need to retain an architect and do a design, so we don't know the cost yet."

Harry and Mary Margaret, who live in Atherton and are known as "Hunk" and "Moo," have been assembling their collection for almost 50 years, Lapin said. It contains work by a variety of modern and contemporary artists, representing such movements as abstract expressionism, California funk art and Bay Area figurative art.

Works slated to be donated — indoor sculpture and paintings — include the 1947 painting "Lucifer" by Jackson Pollock; Wayne Thiebaud's 1962 oil "Candy Counter"; the 1973 painting "Ocean Park #60" by Richard Diebenkorn; and the 1985 painting "Before, Again IV" by Joan Mitchell.

"The Andersons' contribution is historic and their desire to share this remarkable collection with the world reflects their philosophy that art can inspire all of us," Stanford President John Hennessy said in a press release.

In the same release, Harry and Mary Margaret were quoted as saying, "Throughout our adult lives, we have always been closely associated with colleges and universities, and in making this gift to Stanford we anticipate the students, the public and the entire art community will have the opportunity to fully engage the collection."

The Andersons described the donated pieces as the core of their collection. Some will come from the array that has been exhibited for years at the Quadrus office complex off Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park.

The couple have been collecting art since the mid-1960s, starting with such early modernists as Picasso and Matisse and then concentrating on post-World War II American art. They have lent their works to special exhibitions at the Cantor Arts Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other museums.

For more about the Anderson Collection, go to aacollection.com.

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