Unprecedented Gift to Whitney Museum’s Photo Collection

The Whitney Museum's new Renzo Piano-designed downtown location, opening May 1, 2015. Photo: Timothy Schenck courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced on Friday that Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla have promised to donate 75 iconic photographs to the museum’s photography collection, Art Daily reported.

The promised donation includes 12 photographs by Walker Evans, two iconic images by Alfred Stieglitz, and further works by Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, and Imogen Cunningham.

A portion of the gift is to be held jointly by the Whitney and the Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Arts Foundation. These works include images by Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Lewis Hine, William Klein, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, Lisette Model, Man Ray, Paul Strand, Edward Weston and Minor White, among others.

Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg said in a statement: “This promised gift from the greatest benefactors of the Whitney Museum’s photography program has a transformative effect on the Museum’s collection. The works are classics of twentieth century photography that enable us to tell the story of twentieth century American Art. We are profoundly grateful to Sondra and Celso, who have amassed one of the outstanding collections of photography in the world, for their extraordinary support and longtime allegiance to the Whitney.”

One of the Whitney Museums greatest benefactors, Sondra Gilman founded the acquisitions committee responsible for purchasing 20th century photography. In 1998, the Whitney Museum honored the benefactor’s long-standing commitment with the inauguration of the Sondra Gilman Gallery, devoted to exhibiting photography.

The additions are to be housed in the Whitney’s new building on the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets in New York, when it opens in the spring of 2015.

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