Published: August 28, 2015
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — The Hyde Collection announced that it has received its largest gift of modern art in 30 years — a fine group of paintings, drawings, prints, mixed media, and sculpture by many of the world’s leading modern artists.
The collection of 55 works of art, including works by Josef Albers, Sol LeWitt, Grace Hartigan, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Motherwell, Bridget Riley, Robert Rauschenberg, David Smith, and 38 other artists, was given to the Hyde by Werner Feibes and the late James Schmitt, retired Schenectady, N.Y., architects and longtime art patrons, collectors, and friends of the Hyde.
Feibes and Schmitt, partners in work and life, began collecting modern art in the 1950s. Their collection evolved uniquely over a half century, as they explored galleries in the United States and abroad, and developed personal relationships with artists and art dealers.
Schmitt died in 2013, and Feibes donated the collection to The Hyde in both of their names.
“This is a transformational gift for The Hyde,” said Erin Coe, director of The Hyde Collection. “The museum is largely known as a collection of Old Masters. The donation from Werner Feibes and James Schmitt now makes us the leading repository of Modern art in the region.”
Prior to the donation, the Hyde’s collection of modern art was formed around two significant past donations. The first gift of Twentieth Century art was made between 1992 and 1996 by the late Jane Murray and consists of 82 works. The second major gift was made between 1999 and 2008, by the late Nancy Sills and her husband Dr Stephen Sills, totaling 45 works. “The Feibes and Schmitt gift significantly enhances our collection of Modern art,” said Coe. “It expands and strengthens its scope and depth and opens new doors for exhibition and programmatic opportunities.”
The gift of 55 works to the Hyde represents a third of the Feibes and Schmitt Collection. The remaining two-thirds of the collection will be bequeathed to the museum by Feibes.
Feibes and Schmitt were first introduced to the Hyde in 1998 by then- curator and later director Randall Suffolk, who left the Hyde in 2007, and is the incoming director of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
“I’m thrilled that these works have found a new home at The Hyde,” said Suffolk. “The Feibes & Schmitt Collection single-handedly provides a vital, new dimension to the museum’s holdings and will profoundly impact the visitor experience and programming for generations to come.”
The works in the collection reflect both collector’s personal tastes and their broad interest in modern art, particularly non-objective art, Pop art, abstract art, and Minimalism.
“Werner Feibes and Jim Schmitt assembled their collection very carefully and with fine judgment, always choosing pieces they wanted to live with in their home,” said Paul V. Turner, the Wattis Professor of Art, Emeritus, in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. “The works are of superb quality and over the years many of them have been borrowed for exhibitions by major museums in America and Europe, including the Guggenheim, Whitney, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. Messrs. Feibes and Schmitt’s personal friendship with several of the artists also gives their collection a distinctive character. Any art museum would be enriched by this generous donation.”
Feibes, 85, said it was Schmitt who “had the collecting bug,” but both participated fully in assembling a collection of stunning quality, breadth, and scope. Collecting art fit perfectly with their love of travel, adventure and cultural pursuits; and the Hyde exemplifies their six-decade commitment to supporting the arts in the Capital Region.
Two works from the recent gift are on view to September 27 at the Hyde in the exhibition “Pop Art from the Feibes & Schmitt Collection,” along with four works on loan from Feibes. Plans for an exhibition of works in the Feibes and Schmitt gift are under development.
The Hyde Collection is at 161 Warren Street. For more information, or www.hydecollection.org or 518-792-1761.
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