Wall Street Heavyweight Robert Greenhill Donates a Major Collection of 300 Photographs to the Museum of Modern Art

The collection includes works by Robert Frank, Cindy Sherman, William Eggleston, and others.

Jan Groover, Untitled (ca. 1979). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 Estate of Jan Groover.
Jan Groover, Untitled (ca. 1979). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 Estate of Jan Groover.

Wall Street mergers and acquisitions tycoon Robert F. Greenhill has donated a major collection of more than 300 photographs to the Museum of Modern Art.

A selection of the photos will comprise a newly formed collection named after Greenhill’s wife, Gayle Greenhill; the remainder will be sold in order to establish an endowment fund to support MoMA’s photography department in the future. Though the collection includes innovators of the medium like László Moholy-Nagy, William Eggleston, and Cindy Sherman, the Greenhills were keen travelers who also amassed a trove of documentary-style works, often without attribution. Images taken during the Korean War, Antarctic exploration, and at the onset of the invention of aviation are just a few of the landmark moments in history captured in the collection.

The Greenhills’ prolific collecting was bolstered by Gayle’s involvement in arts organizations. She served as chair of the board at the International Center of Photography from 2001 to 2008, and was a member of the Fellows of Photography and MoMA’s Committee on Photography.

“The collection is filled with singularly important treasures and lesser-known surprises that span the history of the medium,” read a statement from MoMA photography curator Sarah Meister, “cumulatively suggesting the spirit of adventure and exploration that were at the heart of Gayle’s interests.”

The Gayle Greenhill collection will appear in a future exhibition, though the dates have yet to be determined. In the meantime, see a selection of highlights below.

László Moholy-Nagy, Negative (Portrait) (1931). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (1995). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 Cindy Sherman, courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Herbert George Ponting, The Ramparts of Mount Erebus (1911). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill.

Imogen Cunningham, The Unmade Bed (1957). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 Estate of Imogen Cunningham.

William Eggleston, Greenwood, Mississippi (1973). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 Eggleston Artistic Trust.

Robert Frank, New York City (1951). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 The Andrea Frank Foundation.

Jan Groover, Untitled (ca. 1979). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 Estate of Jan Groover.

Charles Sheeler, Bucks County Barn with Chickens (ca. 1917). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 The Lane Collection.

Edward Steichen, Moonrise Mamaroneck, New York (1904). The Gayle Greenhill Collection. Gift of Robert F. Greenhill © 2020 The Estate of Edward Steichen / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


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