Published: May 29, 2012
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has received one of the largest and most significant gifts in its history †the Lane Collection, comprising more than 6,000 photographs, 100 works on paper and 25 paintings. One the finest private holdings of Twentieth Century American art in the world and encompassing an unparalleled collection of photographs, the collection includes Charles Sheeler’s entire photographic estate of nearly 2,500 works; an equal number of images by Edward Weston, considered the greatest assemblage of his work in private hands; and 500 photographs by Ansel Adams, the largest private collection of his work as well.
The gift brings the number of objects in the MFA’s photography collection †currently at 9,000 †to 15,000, an increase of 66 percent.
The Lane Collection also features paintings and works on paper by major American Modernists, including Arthur G. Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis and John Marin, as well as Sheeler. The gift was made to the museum by Saundra B. Lane, who, with her late husband, William H. Lane, has been a longtime trustee, friend and supporter of the MFA.
The almost 2,500 prints by Sheeler (1883‱965), recognized as one of the founders of American Modernism and a master photographer of the Twentieth Century, represent all of his well-known photographic series †the Cubist-inspired images from his Doylestown House series (1916‱917), photographs taken at the River Rouge plant on the occasion of the introduction of the new Model A Ford, 1927; views of France’s Chartres Cathedral, 1929, and his industrial “Power Series” made for Fortune magazine, 1939; among others. The 2,500 works by Weston (1886‱958), a pioneering Modernist, include his portraits, nudes, still lifes, landscapes and cityscapes, as well as his forays into surrealism.
Among the collection’s 500 works by Adams (1902‱984) are his early prints of the High Sierra, Canadian Rockies, the American Southwest and the national parks.
The gift also features some 100 works on paper, including “ITLKSEZ,” 1921, by Stuart Davis; “Our House,” 1941, by Arthur G. Dove; “Portrait †Black,” (1916) by Georgia O’Keeffe; and “Smokestacks,” 1931, by Sheeler, known for his work in multiple media. Among the 25 paintings in the gift are “Skeleton,” 1936, by Hyman Bloom; “Lunenburg,” 1954, by Sheeler; “Eye Level,” 1951‵4, by Davis; “Square” 1953, by Franz Kline; and “Movement †Sea and Sky,” 1946, by John Marin. These works join the previous gift of 90 Modernist paintings and works on paper given to the MFA by William and Saundra Lane in 1990.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is at 465 Huntington Avenue. For information, www.mfa.org or 617-267-9300.
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