Emily Fisher Landau, Longtime Whitney Trustee and Benefactor, Donates Several Hundred Works of Art to The Whitney

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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

Emily Fisher Landau, Andy Warhol

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

Emily has been a dear friend and supporter of the Whitney for nearly forty years. Her commitment—to artists, to the artistic imagination, to exploring the new, and to the Whitney Museum—is unwavering."

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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.

At the Whitney, Ms. Fisher Landau has served as co-chair of the Contemporary Committee; a member of the Library Fellows; a member of the Chairman’s Council; and has participated on several other Museum committees. In 1995, she generously established an endowment to support the Biennial, the Whitney’s signature contemporary exhibition. That same year, the fourth floor galleries at the Whitney were named in her honor. In recognition of her many years of generosity, she was honored at the Whitney’s 2006 annual fall Gala. Ms. Fisher Landau’s daughter, Candia Fisher, has served on the Whitney’s Print Committee (1996-2000) and Photography Committee (since 2007), continuing the family’s tradition of generous support for the Whitney Museum.

Emily Fisher Landau has shared her time and generosity beyond the walls of the Whitney. In 1991, the Fisher Landau Center for Art was established in Long Island City, housed in a former parachute harness factory. The Center, designed by Max Gordon in association with Bill Katz, is devoted to art education and the exhibition and study of the Fisher Landau collection of contemporary art and stages regular exhibitions drawn from its important holdings. The Columbia University MFA Thesis exhibition will be on view there from May 3 to 23, 2010. Ms. Fisher Landau has served as a trustee of SITE Santa Fe and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, both in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has also served on acquisition committees at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for several decades. In 1999, she established the Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and has supported a program at Columbia University Teachers College and New York University that has helped New York City private-school students with learning disabilities. She was made a Chevalier, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, by the government of France in 1986, received the Haym Solomon Award from the Anti-Defamation League in 2006, and was honored with the 2008 CITYarts Making a Difference through the Arts Award.

About the Whitney

The Whitney Museum of American Art is the leading advocate of 20th- and 21st-century American art. Founded in 1930, the Museum is regarded as the preeminent collection of American art and includes major works and materials from the estate of Edward Hopper, the largest public collection of works by Alexander Calder, as well as significant works by Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Georgia O'Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol, among other artists. With its history of exhibiting the most promising and influential American artists and provoking intense critical and public debate, the Whitney's signature show, the Biennial, has become the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in America today. First housed on West 8th Street, the Whitney relocated in 1954 to West 54th Street and in 1966 inaugurated its present home at 945 Madison Avenue, designed by Marcel Breuer. The Whitney is currently moving ahead with plans to build a second facility, designed by Renzo Piano, located in downtown New York at the entrance to the High Line in the Meatpacking District.

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