Hyde Collection Receives Largest Single Gift in Its History With $11 Million Donation
The donors, Werner Feibes and James Schmitt, were together for 65 years.
The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, New York, has received a major donation that more than doubles the institution’s modern art holdings, reports the Times Union. It is the largest single gift in the institution’s history since Charlotte Pruyn Hyde founded the museum in 1952 through a donation of her home and artwork.
The $11 million gift comes from 86-year-old Werner Feibes, who amassed a collection of modern and contemporary paintings, prints, and sculptures, with his business partner and husband, James Schmitt. Together for 65 years, the two men were the principals of a Schenectady architecture firm, and finally married in May 2013, just two months before Schmitt died at age 87.
The newly-announced gift includes $1 million and 105 works by the likes of Jean Arp, Grace Hartigan, Keith Haring, Sol LeWitt, Robert Motherwell, George Rickey, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, and David Smith. In 2015, Feibes donated of 55 pieces from the couple’s collection, which they began amassing in the 1950s. This second gift includes the rest of their holdings.
“This is transformational for the museum,” the museum’s director, Erin Coe, said in a statement. “I want to express our profound gratitude for Werner’s generosity and his confidence in the museum,” she added, calling it the “gift of a lifetime.”
The collection’s highlights include a Haring doodle, bought for just $15 and now reportedly worth $15,000. The two men were also close friends with Ellsworth Kelly. Bartering their architectural work for art, they designed the late artist’s studio, at his Spencertown, New York, home in 1977. In exchange, Kelly made them a painting designed to fit the dimensions of their living room.
“It was probably the only site-specific painting he created in his career,” Feibes told the Times Union last year.
Following last year’s initial gift, the museum presented six of the donated works, by Al Hansen, Haring, Rauschenberg, Tom Wesselmann, and Andy Warhol, in “Pop Art From the Feibes and Schmitt Collection.”
To accommodate the latest influx of art, the Hyde will build a new exhibition space for modern and contemporary work in what is now storage space. It hopes to unveil the 1,500-square-foot Feibes & Schmitt Gallery next summer with an exhibition of works from the donated collection.
“Jim Schmitt and I always considered art as ideas expressed through a visual medium,” said Feibes in a statement. “For more than four decades, we collected these ideas, and it gives me great pleasure to share them with the Hyde and with the public.”
See more of the works donated to the Hyde Collection below.
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