Paintings by Picasso and Bischoff Are Among Fall 2006 Acquisitions

Stanford, California, January 10, 2007 — The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University announces recent acquisitions that significantly enhance the Center’s collection. All are important additions to the collection, and several of the works, including paintings by Asher B. Durand, Pablo Picasso, and Elmer Bischoff, are currently on view.

Among the donations is the painting by Pablo Picasso, Courtesan with Hat, the bequest of Dr. Marjorie Lewisohn. As a young artist at the beginning of his career, Picasso painted the canvas during his second visit to Paris in the spring of 1901, shortly before his first large-scale exhibition at the gallery of Ambroise Vollard later that summer. With its bold use of color and rhythmic brushstrokes, the painting recalls neo-impressionist and expressionist work, while the dreamy figure of a woman echoes the art of Toulouse-Lautrec and Jacques Villon, who painted stylish Parisians at around this same time.

Like the impressionist artists who preceded him, Picasso participated in the cabaret life of Paris’s Montmartre district, where he would have seen French working-class women such as this courtesan. In the canvas, the figure is comparable to the flowers that blossom nearby, both objects of visual delectation. Although the 20-year-old Picasso was not yet well known, it was this period of experimentation that enabled him to create his well-known Blue Period paintings in the autumn of 1901, just before leaving Paris to return to his native Spain.

The Cantor Arts Center possesses a significant group of works by Bay Area artists, but until recently a figurative painting by Elmer Bischoff (1916–1991) was lacking. In 2006, Interior with Cityscape (1969) became available through the artist’s widow, Adelie. Thanks to Cantor Arts Center donors Jill and John Freidenrich, this impressive painting has entered the collection and is on view outside the Center auditorium until mid-April, when it moves to the Center’s Freidenrich Family Gallery in May

Interior with Cityscape recalls films by Alfred Hitchcock such as Vertigo (1958) or Rear Window (1954). A man and woman occupy a room with a view of a city (probably San Francisco) in the background. She is seated in the foreground, and he stands in the background. Jarring high-keyed hues and dynamic brushwork complement the agitation implicit in the pictorial arrangement, which is reminiscent of interiors by Edgar Degas in the 19th century and Edward Hopper in the 20th century. Interior with Cityscape is one of Bischoff’s several large paintings from 1969 on this theme.

Jill and John Freidenrich are long-time friends of the Cantor Arts Center and of Stanford. They supported the Center’s rebuilding fund with a gift that named the gallery of modern and contemporary art, and they endowed the directorship of the Center. Earlier this year, Stanford announced their gift of $25 million to Stanford’s School of Medicine for a center for translational research.

The recent purchase of Summer Landscape (1854, oil on canvas) by Asher B. Durand (1796–1886) augments the Cantor Arts Center’s holdings of important American paintings. During his lifetime, Durand was regarded as one of the United States' preeminent landscape painters. Along with his mentor Thomas Cole, Durand helped to establish and promote an American school of landscape painting that came to be known as the Hudson River School. The purchase of this work was made possible from the Cantor Arts Center Membership Art Acquisition Fund, Kazak Fund, the Landreth Family, Clumeck Fund, and an anonymous donor. William Landreth is a Stanford University Trustee.

Summer Landscape is on view in the newly reinstalled Mondavi Family Gallery of 19th-century American and European art. This work is a luminous example of Durand's artistic skills and interests. With idyllic blending of nature, agrarian life, and golden light, Durand reveals the landscape as the realm of the divine.

The Center has added a major set of engravings by Albrecht Dürer to its collection. This singular set depicting the Passion of Christ in 16 images has been purchased through the Center’s Burton and Deedee McMurtry Fund. Scenes from the life of Christ — especially his suffering and death — constituted a major theme in the great German artist's work. Dürer created three Passion cycles, two in woodcut and this set of engravings, on which he worked from 1507 to 1512. Acclaimed by scholars as among his finest printmaking achievements, this acquisition is the museum’s most important print purchase of recent years. Burton McMurtry, Chair of Stanford’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Deedee, also supported the Center’s rebuilding fund and endowed a curatorship now held by Betsy Fryberger, curator of prints and drawings

Stanford University continues to enlarge its collection of outdoor art, which is rivaled by few American academic institutions. The collection now features more than 50 works, including sculptures by the 19th-century French master Auguste Rodin as well as pieces by many 20th-century artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, and George Segal. The most recent addition to the collection is Horizon II, a bronze bench by Bay Area artist Bruce Beasley, cast in 2006, located near the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden at the Cantor Arts Center.

Beasley uses a computer for sketching designs for his sculptures, and ultimately sends a foamcore model to the foundry that casts the work. Although Horizon is more than 10 feet long and weighs nearly a ton, the sculpture appears to float due to the bronze “rocks” that cantilever the seat. Typical of Beasley’s sculpture is the manner in which its massive geometric forms seem to defy gravity, a quality unusual but well suited to a piece of furniture intended for relaxation.

Horizon II is a memorial gift from the family of museum members Mary Ann and Stanley Kaisel. Mary Ann Kaisel was actively engaged with the museum as a volunteer for more than 20 years, through work as chair of the Center’s membership’s board of governors and service on numerous other committees. Stanley Kaisel received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering at Stanford and served many years as a fundraising volunteer for the School of Engineering.

Following the announcement of the generous pledge of art from the Marmor Foundation to the Cantor Arts Center over the next 20 years, the Foundation made the first installment of the gift in late 2006. The initial gift of 20 works includes prints by Roy Lichtenstein and Bruce Nauman, a drawing by Duane Michals, ceramics by Andrew Lord, and sculptures by Tom Wesselman, Tony Berlant, and Bryan Hunt. Selections from the Marmor Foundation are on display in the Cantor Arts Center’s Freidenrich Family Gallery.

The donation, given by Stanford University School of Medicine professor Dr. Michael Marmor, his wife Dr. Jane Marmor, and children, Dr. Andrea Marmor and David Marmor, ultimately will include 222 prints, paintings, sculptures, and works of decorative art. The gift is made in memory of Dr. Michael Marmor’s parents, the late Drs. Katherine and Judd Marmor, who collected the art for the Foundation over the course of their lives. In addition to the gift of art, the Marmor Foundation has established a fund to support the use of the collection and to promote its educational programs.

Roy Lichtenstein
La Sortie, 1990
Woodcut on board
58 5/8 x 81 inches
Cantor Arts Center, Gift of The Marmor Foundation. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Asher B. Durand
Summer Landscape, 1854
Oil on canvas
30 x 42 inches
Cantor Arts Center, Membership Art Acquisition Fund, Kazak Fund, the Landreth Family, Clumcek Fund, and an anonymous donor