NY Collector Pledges a Major Bequest of Art to the SRGF

NY Collector Pledges a Major Bequest of Art to the SRGF


New York and Venice, Italy, January 21, 2005—Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Philip Rylands, Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection; and Hannelore B. Schulhof jointly announce an agreement whereby a major part of the collection of postwar European and American art of Mrs. Schulhof and her late husband, Rudolph B. Schulhof (d. 1999), will be donated to the Guggenheim Foundation.

According to the agreement, which was drawn up by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Mrs. Schulhof, the promised gift of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper will reside permanently at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Italian branch of the Foundation and former home of the great collector Peggy Guggenheim. The collection, which will have its own designated spaces in the museum, will be known collectively as the "Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection."

The gift will substantially strengthen the post-1945 holdings of painting and sculpture in what is already seen as the premier Italian museum for the artistic avant-gardes of the first half of the century. The Schulhof collection of classic postwar Italian, European, and American art, when added to the Cubist, abstract, Surrealist, and early American Abstract Expressionist art and to Peggy Guggenheim's own purchases of postwar art, extends the comprehensive reach of the Venice museum into the 1970s and even 1980s.

Certain works in the gift will add significantly to the Foundation's holdings of artists already present in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Works by postwar Italians will be particularly appropriate for the Venice-based museum. Perhaps most importantly, the works by New York School artists will represent the U.S. in the generations after Peggy Guggenheim's heroic championing of what came to be known as American Abstract Expressionism at her New York gallery, Art of This Century, and after her departure from New York in 1947. Examples of Color-field painting, Pop art, and Minimalism will be on view permanently at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection for the first time. European paintings and drawings from the postwar period maintain the American-European dialogue that characterizes both the Peggy Guggenheim and Schulhof collections. The museum's celebrated sculpture gardens, including the Nasher Sculpture Garden, will be enriched by outdoor works.

Philip Rylands said: "Peggy Guggenheim's departure from New York and the beginning of her Venetian life in 1947 marked the close of the heroic phase of her collecting. As a consequence, European and American postwar art is only sporadically represented in her collection. The Schulhofs began their collecting where Peggy left off, so their collection represents a perfect fit, extending and enriching seamlessly the Venice museum's postwar art with great works by great artists."

Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof shared with Peggy Guggenheim, whom they met in 1966 at the Venice Biennale and admired as a kindred spirit, the conviction that they should collect the art of their own time, and they did so with a passion comparable to hers. Mrs. Schulhof grew up in prewar Germany, which she left shortly before the outbreak of World War II. She was joined by her Czech-born fiancé Rudolph Schulhof in Brussels, where they married. From there, they travelled together to the U.S. Mrs. Schulhof has said: "Art is almost like a religion. It is what I believe in. It is what gives my life dimension beyond the material world we live in."

The Schulhofs have been praised as collectors since the 1960s for the refinement and discernment with which they brought together art from both the European and North American continents. Celebrated benefactors of the arts, each of them has served on numerous museum boards and foundations, including CIMAM and the American Federation of Arts. Mr. Schulhof was a trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation from 1993 until his death in 1999, while Mrs. Schulhof became a Charter (Founding) Member of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Advisory Board in 1980 and is still today an Emeritus Member.

Thomas Krens commented: “The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has a tradition of validating the achievements of collectors, whether of Solomon R. Guggenheim himself, or Justin K. Thannhauser, Peggy Guggenheim, or Giuseppe Panza. The Foundation is proud that it will one day add the Schulhof name to this distinguished company. Thanks to Hannelore Schulhof, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection will encompass a more complete presentation of the 20th-century avant-gardes. The Foundation Trustees and I are very grateful indeed.”

January 21, 2005

Betsy Ennis, Director Public Affairs
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Tel: (212) 423-3840
E-mail: bennis@guggenheim.org

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