Head of a Child, c. 1505
Sotheby’s To Sell Newly Discovered Raphael Drawing
[May 22, 2004]
LONDON, ENGLAND. - A newly-discovered work by leading Renaissance artist Raffaello Sanzio, more commonly known as Raphael (1483-1520), will be offered in Sotheby’s sale of Old Master Drawings on Thursday, July 8, 2004. Previously unrecorded, the drawing relates to Raphael’s Ansidei Madonna in the National Gallery in London and is probably the artist’s earliest drawing in red chalk.
Found during a routine valuation by Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings expert Cristiana Romalli, the drawing represents a highly important addition to Raphael’s oeuvre. It was executed some time around 1505, when Raphael was just 22 years old, and dates from a defining moment in his career, fully demonstrating his position at that time, poised as he then was between the traditions of the past and those of the future. One of only a handful of Raphael drawings still in private hands, Head of a Child is the first drawing by the artist to have come to auction since 1997. It is estimated at £50,000 - £70,000.
Cristiana Romalli discovered the work while leafing through a folio of minor Italian drawings that had been brought into Sotheby’s by a client. She said: "The moment I came to the child’s head, I knew it was by Raphael. It was beautifully executed, and the combination of stylus and red chalk spoke to me immediately of Raphael. I was astonished: I could hardly believe that a work by so major an artist could really be here, so unexpected, and with no indication whatsoever of any previous attribution."
Struck by the firmness and control of the composition, as well as by the unusual combination of red chalk over stylus, Cristiana took the drawing in for further research. Comparing it to other works in Raphael’s oeuvre, she found the forms of the child’s face echoed very closely of those of the Christ Child’s face in the Ansidei Madonna (executed as an altarpiece for the Church of S. Fiorenzo, Perugia, and now in the National Gallery in London.). On the strength of this, the drawing was taken to the National Gallery for side-by-side comparison with the painting there, and it was immediately clear that the two works were related. As is so often the case, there are some minor differences between the drawing and the painted work - in the drawing, the child’s left cheek is slightly plumper, and the tilt of his head is a little less acute - but otherwise the forms match perfectly. In fact, the minor differences are themselves revealing, for when the National Gallery painting is examined under infra-red light, early pentimenti (compositional revisions) show that, in the earlier stages of painting, Raphael had indeed painted a rounder, fuller cheek than the one we see now.
Aside from its connection with the painting, the drawing tells an independent story that is equally compelling. For while the precision of form and careful composition look back to previous generation of artists, the use of red chalk heralds a new and exciting moment both in Raphael’s career and, more broadly, in the history of Italian renaissance art. Dating from 1505, this seems to be Raphael’s first known use of red chalk. At this date, he was newly arrived in Florence, and his choice of this medium was almost certainly a direct result of his exposure there to the works of that great innovator, Leonardo da Vinci, who had already begun to explore its expressive possibilities. Raphael’s exposure to the art of Florence, and of Leonardo in particular - this "new encounter", as it has been called - was to transform his art, and his use of red chalk in the present drawing stands as an early acknowledgement of all that was new and exciting around him - forces that were to have such a transforming impact on his work.
The drawing of the Head of the Child, therefore, stands at a crossroads - at once looking back to the Early Renaissance (to the works of artists such as Verrochio, Polloaiolo, Masaccio and Donatello), while at the same time looking forward to "new" art of the next generation and to the works of the High Renaissance artists, among whom Raphael was to be a leading figure.
The verso of the drawing (right) is also fascinating. It shows a metal vessel, possibly an incense burner. While drawings of this kind of subject are rare in Raphael’s oeuvre, they nonetheless shed interesting light on little-known aspects of his life and career. For in fact there has long been speculation that, aside from his work as a painter, Raphael may also have been involved in designing objects for metalwork. This would tally both with his personal circumstances (his father’s second wife was from a family of goldsmiths) as well as with other circumstantial evidence (a small number of similar drawings, a receipt for some salver designs, and mention of two basins after Raphael designs having been offered to Isabella d’Este). If Raphael did indeed produce designs for metalwork, that would place him firmly among like-minded contemporaries - Perugino (widely believed to have been Raphael’s master) had a strong interest in metalwork and design, and Giulio Romano (one of Raphael’s leading pupils) was an almost unparalleled designer of silver and metal objects.
This exceptional drawing therefore presents a remarkably rich and full picture of the range and development of Raphael’s art around the time that he moved to Florence (a theme which is to be the subject of a major exhibition at the National Gallery later this year). This sheet may be small, but its importance is certainly not, and its discovery adds considerably to our understanding of how Raphael traversed this crossroad in his artistic life.
Nature morte a la charlotte (1924)
Picasso Painting Reported Missing at Pompidou Center
[May 21, 2004]
PARIS, FRANCE.- French police announced that the painting “Nature morte a la charlotte” (1924) by Pablo Picasso is missing from a restoration workshop in the Pompidou Center in Paris. The work is worth around €2,5-million. Police think the work was stolen. The work was seen on January 12 for the last time and this past Friday it was discovered missing.
Jean-Pierre Biron, a museum spokesman, said, “The picture has been reproduced many times and is hard to sell.” The work had been lent to the Fine Arts Gallery of Nancy and it was to be returned to a museum in Roubaix, near Lille, after its restoration.
Unicorno Collection of Drawings Brings Euro 2,35 Million
[May 20, 2004]
AMSTERDAM.- The Unicorno Collection, a private collection of European drawings brought together by the Dutch collectors Mr en Mrs Nijstad, sold today at Sotheby’s Amsterdam for Euro 2,35 million. The collection, an outstanding group of some 500 drawings, all chosen with an unerring eye for quality, had been expected to fetch Euro 1,3 million. It was 90% sold by value.
Gregory Rubinstein, Senior Director and Head of Sotheby’s international Drawing Department, said: "Today’s spectacular results are a testimony to the collecting taste of Mr and Mrs Nijstad. The wonderful result is a fitting tribute to this extraordinary collection that was put together with so much love and knowledge over more than fifty five years."
Highlights of the sale was the colorful Vanitas still-life by Herman Henstenburgh (1667-1726), estimated at Euro 60,000-80,000 (lot 199). The drawing caught the imagination of several collectors and the price soared to Euro 195,200, a world auction record for the artist.
The classical drawings by Josephius Augustus Knip (1777-1847) proved to be in demand. His rendering of the Temple of Minerva Medica, Rome (lot 323, estimated Euro 18,000/22,000) sold for Euro 134,200, a world auction record for the artist, and The Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius, Rome (lot 333, estimated Euro 7,500-9,000) found a new owner for Euro 67,100. Two other drawings by Knip, The aquaduct of Nero, Rome (lot 325, estimated Euro 9,000/12,000) and the Palace of the Ceasars in Rome (lot 324, estimated Euro 12,000/18,000) fetched Euro 42,700 each.
Two drawings by Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651) found their way into the top ten. His drawing of Plants at the foot of a ruined arch (lot 44) and his Vegetables at the foot of a tree (lot 43) far exceeded their presale estimates selling both for Euro 70,760.
Of interest was an early 17th century Panoramic Hilly Landscape by the Monogrammist VHE (lot 14) that sold for a surprising Euro 51,240 (estimate Euro 12,000/18,000)
Two drawings by Paulus Constantijn la Fargue (1729-1782) generated much interest and fetched more than five times their pre-sale estimates. His View of Voorschoten (lot 266) was sold for Euro 48.800, a world auction record for the artist, and a View on the beach of Katwijk (lot 249) realised Euro 39.040.
Johannes Bronckhorst (1648-1727) was represented by several fine watercolours and gouaches, such as a Garland of flowers (lot 190) (estimated Euro 12,000-18,000) and selling for Euro 42.700
The wonderful drawings by Aert Schouman caught the eye of two important Dutch Museums. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam acquired the delicate Bergamot plant (lot 206) by Aert Schouman, for Euro 39,040, a world auction record for the artist, and the great portrait of the collector Jan Snellen with his Mother, Margaretha van ’t Wedde and his First Wife, Krijna Vroombrouck by Aert Schouman went to the Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, for Euro 24,400.
British High Court Judge Decides Against Christie’s
[May 20, 2004]
LONDON, ENGLAND.- British High Court Judge Raymond Jack decided that Christie’s has to pay damages to Taylor Thomson, the Canadian daughter of the billionaire Lord Thomson of Fleet, for negligence and misrepresentation. The judge stated Christie’s had inflated its catalogue description of the urns, failed to warn Miss Thomson about problems in dating such pieces and covered up a report doubting their authenticity. Taylor Thomson paid almost £2 million for a pair of urns that the auction house told her dated from the 18th century. She believed that they were masterpieces from the reign of Louis XV of France. She later found out that they were 19th century reproductions.
Miss Taylor is seeking the return of the money, plus interest, that she paid at the 1994 auction of treasures from the Marquess of Cholmondeley’s home at Houghton Hall, Norfolk. The amount of damages will be decided next month. The legal costs are estimated at £1.6 million.
Christie’s is considering appealing the decision. The judge ruled that there was a 70 per cent probability that the urns were 18th century and that the Christie’s dating "was an opinion that an auctioneer of their standing could reasonably reach". He said the auction house’s cataloguing "fell below the standard to be expected".
The judge said, “I am afraid that here Christie’s gave way to the temptation to boost the urns by saying things that suggested a certainty about them that was wholly unjustified. Christie’s gave what was in the circumstances an incomplete picture and Miss Thomson was entitled to a fuller one. The circumstances required them to tell her that the dating of objects in this area was an unusually difficult one. She should have been told that the catalogue inflated what could properly be said about the urns and was likely to give a misleading impression about Christie’s knowledge."
Grand Nu,1950, Sugar aquatint
© Courtesy of DACS
From the Alexander Walker Bequest, British Museum
The Alexander Walker Bequest at The British Museum
[May 20, 2004]
LONDON, ENGLAND.- The British Museum will present “Matisse to Freud: A Critic’s Choice - The Alexander Walker Bequest,” on view from June 15, 2004 to January 9, 2005 at the Prints & Drawings Gallery.
Alexander Walker (1930-2003), the film critic for the Evening Standard for more than forty years and the author of many books on cinema, was one of the most influential and respected figures in the film world. Less well known is that he was also a highly discerning collector of modern art. His entire collection of more than 200 modern prints and drawings, which he carefully assembled from the early 1960s up to his death last July, has been left under the terms of his will to the British Museum. Walker was a regular visitor to the Museum’s Prints and Drawings exhibitions and study room.
The focus of his collection is post-1960 American and British art. Artists include Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Josef Albers, Philip Guston, Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn and Brice Marden from the United States, and Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley, Paula Rego, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Keith Vaughan and Rachel Whiteread from Britain. Picasso , Matisse and Miró, as well as Jean Dubuffet, Eduardo Chillida and Nicholas de Staël are among the School of Paris artists collected by Walker, as well as the principal exponents of British Vorticism - Nevinson, Bomberg and Wadsworth. His collection represents the largest and most important bequest of modern works that the Department of Prints and Drawings has received in the past fifty years. His bequest significantly enriches the British Museum’s expanding modern and contemporary collection.
One year from his death, the British Museum is paying tribute to Alexander Walker and his magnificent bequest by showing nearly 150 works from his collection, revealing to the public for the first time his eye for exceptional quality. Walker kept his astonishing collection framed on the walls of his small bachelor flat in Maida Vale. Every available surface was covered, including the bathroom and kitchen, and even both sides of cupboard doors. He thought carefully before making any acquisition, being particularly interested in works which showed the artist at some critical turning point. For Walker whose day was spent in front of moving images, his collection was a welcome antidote. As he liked to say, ‘After seeing eight or nine films a week, it’s a pleasure to rest your eyes not on moving pictures but on color or black-and-white stills’.
Alexander Walker was born in Portadown, Northern Ireland and graduated in political philosophy from Queen’s University, Belfast. After lecturing for two years in the early 1950s at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he embarked on a lifelong career in film journalism and criticism.
A view of Yardin Tammisaari
Sotheby’s To Hold Annual Scandinavian Sale
[May 18, 2004]
LONDON, ENGLAND. - On Tuesday, June 15, 2004, Sotheby’s will hold its sixth annual sale dedicated exclusively to works from the Scandinavian regions. Featuring works by internationally recognized names such as August Strindberg, Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, Johan Christian Dahl, Adolph Tidemand, Frits Thaulow , Peder Monsted, Paul Fischer and Helene Schjerfbeck, the sale will include works by artists from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Pre-sale viewing begins in London on Thursday, June 10th, and a traveling exhibition of highlights - co-sponsored by AXA Art, Netjets, Ånlandsbanken Private Banking and Formuepleje respectively - will tour Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen between 24th May and 4th June.
Adrian Biddell, Head of 19th-Century European Paintings at Sotheby’s in London, said: "This is an exciting time for Scandinavian art. Since we began holding specialist Scandinavian sales in 1999, they have attracted ever-increasing interest from around the world. Scandinavian artists were deeply influenced by what was happening in Continental Europe and were very much in touch with contemporary developments such as Realism, Impressionism, Primitivism and Modernism. But they took these ideas home and synthesised them with their own native imagery to create something with its own very special appeal - it’s an appeal that’s becoming increasingly recognised at an international level."
Among the highlights of the sale is Strandparti, Kymmendö, I, by the celebrated Swedish playwright and novelist August Strindberg (1849-1912) - estimate £50,000-70,000. Although Strindberg is best known for his skill with words - his books and plays are widely admired for their powerful combination of psychology, naturalism and mysticism - he was also a talented painter. Very often, Strindberg turned to the brush when the pen failed him: whenever anxiety or depression overwhelmed him to the point that he could no longer express himself in words, Strindberg painted as an outlet for his emotions. Executed in 1873, Strandparti is one of Strindberg’s earliest paintings. It belongs to a group of works that Strindberg painted in the wake of a series of early professional failures and the subject - a broad horizon beyond the Stockholm archipelago - represents an early use of the motif that Strindberg was to return to again and again throughout his life. Strindberg’s work has been the subject of increasing international attention in recent years. In 2001 the exhibition Strindberg Painter and Photographer culminated in Paris at the Musée d’Orsay following shows in Stockholm, Copenhagen, while in 2005/06 his work will be the subject of a major retrospective at Tate Modern, London.
Among other Swedish artists featuring in the sale, Carl Larsson (1853-1919) is represented by four attractive pastels, all of which capture the sense of domestic calm and contentedness that characterise Larsson’s oeuvre. Estimated at £70,000-£100,000, Gammelrummet (The Old Room, right) depicts the guestroom in Larsson’s house - a room where he also stored the many decorative objects (furniture, paintings, coins, etc.) that he collected both for use around the house and as sources of inspiration for his work. Another pastel Blommande Katkuss (Flowering Cactus), (est: £18,000-£25,000) is also heavily redolent of the Larssons’ domestic life. Lush vegetation and flamboyant floral displays were very much a part of their decorative scheme, featuring as much in vases around their homes as on painted walls and furniture. Two other pastels by Larsson depict the landscape and garden around his house in Sundborn.
A rare early work by Anders Zorn (1860-1920), Leksandsbruden (The Bride from Leksand, left, est: £70,000-100,000), illustrates both the richness and diversity of Swedish art in the late 19th. and Zorn’s early dexterity as a watercolourist. A country bride from the village of Laksand is shown in full traditional dress against a backdrop of the domestic reality that defines her existence. In contrast to the mystic nudes that constitute such a large part of Zorn’s oeuvre, the bride from Leksand stands as a very real personification of Nordic identity. Another work by Zorn in the sale is Landskap Från Gopsmor (est: £50,000-£70,000). Painted in oil, the work fully Demonstrates Zorn’s ability to render impressionistic light effects. Purchased direct from the artist by the family of the present owner, and still with the original bill of sale from signed by Zorn, its appearance at auction this June marks the first time the work will have been seen in public since it was painted over 80 years ago.
Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857) was widely heralded by contemporaries as the "discoverer" of the Norwegian landscape. Although many of his works take Norwegian landscapes as their theme, Dahl spent much of his life in Dresden, where he was deeply influenced by the Romantic artist Caspar David Friederich. Three works in the sale together illustrate the increasingly romantic freedom of style that characterizes Dahl’s work of the 1920s. Painted in 1821, 1822 and 1828 respectively, these three landscapes provide a compelling demonstration of Dahl’s ability to combine natural observation with imaginative composition and dramatic light effects. In spite of its subject, the earliest of the three works, A Norwegian Landscape (est: £15,000-£20,000), was actually executed while Dahl was traveling in Italy. Similarly, the second of the works, Ruins Near Baia (est: £20,000-£30,000) also derives from a sketch Dahl made in Italy. The last of the works, however, (View from Krokkleiva, Norway, est: £20,000-£30,000) is based on a sketch Dahl made when he returned to Norway for the first time in 15 years in 1826.
Dahl’s fellow countryman Adolph Tidemand (1814-1876) also settled in Germany. Despite that, throughout his life he specialized in Norwegian subjects, frequently returning to Norway to seek inspiration for his peasant genre scenes. The care with which Tidemand recorded the ethnographic details of Norwegian rural life proved very popular among the public of the time, coinciding as it did with the national romantic ideology that flourished in Norway from the 1840s. Estimated at £60,000-£80,000, Langt Hjemmerfra (Far From Home) shows two young country vagabonds in a generalized Nordic landscape. The children’s clothes are rendered in minute detail, and the rough texture of the cloth is almost palpable.
While both Dahl and Tidemand gravitated towards Germany, it was to France that Frits Thaulow (1847-1906) was drawn. And with the exception of Edvard Munch, he was one of the few Norwegian artists of his generation to secure an international reputation. Trained in Paris, Thaulow moved there in 1874, quickly absorbing the influence of the Impressionist painters around him while establishing a close personal friendship with Claude Monet. Two works in the sale: Vintersol (Winter Sun) est: £40,000-£60,000, and Alkejegeren, (Rowing) est: £40,000-£60,000 reflect Thaulow’s deft ability to look at traditional subjects in a purely visual and aesthetic way, cropping compositions and adopting low angles of vision to create something radically different from the art of previous generations.
Although much Scandinavian art of the 19th century takes its inspiration from the outdoors, a significant body of Danish art of the period confines itself to closed, introspective studies and interior settings. Six canvases by Carl Holsøe (1863-1935) beautifully illustrate the artist’s ability to capture the gentle light and sense of calm that make his work so appealing. Chief among these, Moderskab (Motherhood), estimated at £40,000-£60,000 shows a mother feeding her child in a state of blissful self-absorption. Looking beyond the family home, Copenhagen street life at the turn of the century is captured in the work of Paul Fischer (1860-1934) whose Venter på sporvognen (Waiting for the Tram) is estimated at £40,000-60,000.
Looking at foreign climes, Danish artist, Joseph Theodor Hansen (1848-1912), is represented in the sale by seven European views from a distinguished private collection. Taken together, these works read like a visual diary of the Grand Tourist, encompassing views from Spain, Greece, Rome, Florence and Germany. Although stylistically Hansen’s works are deeply rooted in the traditions of Dutch Golden Age Painting, topographical views such as these were nonetheless painted in response to a very modern market for printed souvenirs of that was fuelled by growing tourism. Estimates range from £6,000 to £25,000.
Although much neglected during the 20th-century, Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) ranks today among the most internationally acclaimed of all Scandinavian artists. A group of late works by Schjerfbeck beautifully demonstrates the combination of abstraction and intensity that makes her work so compelling. Plagued with ill-health and disability throughout her life, Schjerfbeck was intensely sensitive to the qualities of compassion and human kindness she encountered in those around her, and this is nowhere more evident than in the portraits she painted of the people who nursed her towards the end of her life. Estimated at £120,000-£180,000, Schjerfbeck’s Suomalainen Sairaanhoitaja (Finnish Nurse I) is a moving, highly charged depiction of one of her nurses at the sanatorium of Luontola in Nummela. The influence of the Cubist movement is clearly evident in the reduced, abbreviated composition of the work, and yet - in spite of its abstract qualities - the portrait remains intensely personal. Over and above its subject matter, Suomalainen Sairaanhoitaja is intimately connected with Schjerbeck’s life at yet another level, for it previously belonged to Schjerfbeck’s art dealer and mentor Gösta Stenman.
Two other works by Schjerfbeck further illustrate the emotive power of her late work. Estimated at £15,000-£20,000, Flicka i Blått och Brunt is a charcoal preparatory sketch for the 1944 painting Inez (Portrait of a Girl in blue and brown). This too belonged to Stenman and comes to auction direct from his collection. Finally, A View of a Yard in Tammisaari (Ekanäs) shows part of the small town to which Schjerfbeck retreated at various moments in her life. Probably painted in the winter of 1919, when Schjerfbeck returned to Tammisaari after a stay in hospital, the work is estimated at £60,000-£80,000.
Hennepin Elevation at night (detail)
© Herzog & de Meuron , November 2003
Walker Art Center Capital Campaign Has Raised $77 Million
[May 17, 2004]
MINNEAPOLIS. - The Walker Art Center announced today it has raised $77 million in support of its $92 million expansion to be completed in April 2005 ($67.5 million for construction; $24.5 million in endowment funds for operations). At a critical juncture in the Walker’s history and prior to the public phase of the Walker’s capital campaign, 120 individuals, corporations, and foundations have made a commitment to help shape the Center’s future and enable it to remain a valuable cultural resource in Minnesota and one of the leading contemporary art centers in the world. The Walker’s expansion will double the size of the existing facility by adding 130,000 square feet of interior space, and, in phase two, four acres of green space. The expanded 17-acre Walker campus invents a new model for cultural institutions—placing audience engagement at its center and visual, performing, and media arts under one roof.
Lead gifts to the Walker’s campaign have come from longtime supporters as well as from succeeding generations eager to contribute to the cultural vitality of their community. Since 1966, Julia W. Dayton and her late husband, Kenneth, have made it possible for countless others to engage with contemporary art with their major contributions to the Walker’s annual, capital, and acquisition funds. In addition, their lead gifts were instrumental in the creation and expansion of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and they have donated more than 300 artworks to the Walker collection. As the Walker heads toward completion of its new campus, the Dayton’s have continued this generous support with a lead gift of $16 million, the largest gift to the capital campaign.
“Judy and Ken Dayton have played a singular role in sustaining this institution’s growth and ambition for more than three decades,” says Walker Director Kathy Halbreich. “They have been the best partners a museum director could imagine—intellectually vivacious, generous beyond my dreams, and caring about all aspects of the institution. Judy’s passionate commitment of her time—she has served on the Walker Board for more than 38 years and now co-chairs our Capital Campaign Advisory Committee—is a constant inspiration. While her modesty would make it inappropriate to even attempt, it is impossible to calculate what she has contributed to the Walker and to the community.”
A new generation of philanthropic leaders is also helping to shape the Walker’s future. Another major gift of $10 million from William W. and Nadine M. McGuire marks one of the largest ever committed to the commissioning, development, and presentation of new works in the performing arts. The gift provides for the construction of the Walker’s new theater; the creation of the Walker’s first named curatorial position; and a $2 million fund to continue its commissions of new work. Nadine McGuire has been a member of the Walker’s Board of Directors since 1994. Walker Board members Matthew Fitzmaurice, Andrew Duff, Nazie Eftekhari, and John Taft have contributed time and resources to the campaign and encouraged support among their peers. “The Walker expansion represents much more than bricks-and-mortar growth,” said Fitzmaurice. “It feels to me that the Walker is heading toward an important point in its history. . . . There seems to be a grassroots momentum—a new, younger generation that’s engaging with and taking ownership of the organization.”
Generous major gifts for the Walker’s expansion have come from the Twin Cities corporate community as well. Donors whose civic pride and gifts of $1 million or more have helped to build community support for the project are: Target Corporation, General Mills Foundation, Medtronic Foundation, U.S. Bancorp, Cargill Foundation, and Star Tribune Foundation.
The Walker has been fortunate to receive a wide range of contributions from the Target Corporation over the years, including substantial annual operating support and contributions to specific events and programs. When the Walker building closed its doors for renovation on February 15, 2004, a yearlong exploration of art without boundaries began. Thanks to generous support from Target, Walker without Walls took the Walker vision outside to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and to venues across the Twin Cities.
Now, as the expansion project moves ahead, the Target Corporation has continued its significant support by helping the Walker erect new walls and move back inside. A generous contribution of $5 million, the largest corporate gift to the campaign, will go toward construction of one of four new galleries on the Walker campus, to be identified as the Target Gallery. Laysha Ward, Vice President of Community Relations for Target Corporation, comments on the company’s relationship with the Walker: “Target Corporation has been proud to partner with the Walker as they’ve explored innovative ways to bring audiences to contemporary art, and take contemporary art out into the community—back into the everyday life of the Twin Cities. It’s been a partnership built upon a shared devotion to the creative spirit and to the importance of the arts in communities. Now, as the expansion nears completion, we’re so excited to help provide a permanent space in the new building, one where the community can continue to enjoy the world-class exhibitions for which the Walker is known.”
The General Mills Foundation has been an important partner in the history of the Walker’s capital projects, in addition to providing funding to Walker endowments and individual programs. In 1969, a $150,000 contribution to the Walker’s Capital Fund Drive supported construction of the Edward Larrabee Barnes building. In 1980, the Foundation contributed $500,000 toward a campaign that resulted in the expansion of the museum’s physical plant and the creation of new galleries, the Library, Lecture Room, Sol LeWitt Room, art storage, and Print Study Room. And in 1989 the Foundation contributed $1.2 million for “The Fund for the Walker” campaign toward the completion of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. General Mills has also signed on to be a “Premier Partner” at the Walker for three years once the building opens. The Foundation’s most recent gift of $1.5 million helps make possible a distinctive threshold to the new Walker campus—the General Mills Hennepin Lounge.
For the tens of thousands of commuters and pedestrians passing by the new Walker, perhaps the most striking feature will be the multilevel south wing clad with embossed aluminum mesh panels that will catch natural light and respond to changes in weather and point of view. On the street level, the tall windows of the General Mills Hennepin Lounge will reveal the activity inside the Walker to passersby while connecting visitors to the life of the street. General Mills Foundation President Chris Shea explains its commitment: “We believe our community is fortunate to have an internationally acclaimed, multidisciplinary art center of the caliber of the Walker, and that it enriches the quality of life in the Twin Cities. As the Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we are particularly proud of our long and continuing partnership with the Walker Art Center. The new expansion will accelerate its evolution as an innovative gathering place. This increased capability to connect the community to art is very consistent with the mission of our General Mills Community Action organization to champion strong communities.”
One of the most celebrated art museums in the country, the Walker Art Center is known for commissioning and presenting innovative contemporary art; fostering the cross-pollination of the visual, performing, and media arts; and engaging diverse audiences in the excitement of the creative process. The museum has evolved from a small-scale, primarily regional institution into a major local, national, and international artistic resource.
The design for the new Walker, by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, engages the surrounding neighborhood with a new four-acre park as well as vistas onto the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The expanded facility, double the size of the existing building, will feature new galleries; education areas; a new 385-seat theater; street-level and roof-top terraces; plazas, gardens, and lounges; and increased services and amenities for visitors. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a project of the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, is adjacent to the museum. Since its creation in 1988, more than 5 million people have toured the 11-acre site, which has become one of the top 10 destinations in the state.