Press Release  August 3, 2018

The Jewish Museum Announces Major Gift

© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Phot: Kris Graves

Jasper Johns, Untitled, 1991, watercolor, pencil, and graphite on paper

The Jewish Museum Receives Major Gift of Artworks and Funds from The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation

Gift includes artwork by Barnett Newman, as well as Mark Bradford, Joan Jonas, Jasper Johns, Julie Mehretu, Camille Pissarro, Mark Rothko, Richard Serra, and others

New York, NY– The Jewish Museum announced today that it has received a major gift from The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation, established in 1996 by Annalee Newman, the artist's widow. The gift includes artworks from Barnett and Annalee Newman’s personal collection and works created by artists who were recipients of the Barnett and Annalee Newman Award. The gift also includes $10 million, for the endowment of the Museum’s first curatorial position dedicated to contemporary art; for the care and exhibition of the collection; and a promised gift for future institutional use.

Barnett Newman (1905-1970) was a trailblazing artist who bridged postwar abstraction and 1960s Minimalism. Newman’s life and identity were influenced by his experience as the son of Jewish-Polish immigrants. The artist considered the creation of a painting to be an almost sacred act, and believed that the absolute cannot be represented by an image. The Jewish Museum has featured Newman’s artwork in a variety of exhibitions, including Recent American Synagogue Architecture (1963), Black and White (1963), and Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976 (2008).

The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation makes awards to practicing, professional artists in recognition of their artistic achievement. The Foundation wishes to disperse its assets while ensuring that Barnett Newman’s legacy as an artist who valued independence and individual expression remains an inspiration to future generations.

Claudia Gould, Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director, The Jewish Museum, said, “We are honored that the Jewish Museum was chosen for this extraordinary gift and we believe that this is the right home for the collection, given Barnett Newman’s connection to his heritage, one that valued intellectualism and activism. This gift allows the Museum to expand our contemporary art collection in a significant and meaningful way, while celebrating the legacy of such an influential artist.”

The gift includes over 30 artworks that belonged to Barnett and Annalee Newman. Their personal collection includes works by artists such as Adolph Gottlieb, John Graham, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Camille Pissarro, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Aaron Siskind, Saul Steinberg, Frank Stella, and Clyfford Still, as well as by Newman himself.

Also included in the gift is a collection of art by more than 40 artists who received the Barnett and Annalee Newman Award, given annually since 2004 to artists who exemplified Newman’s values and his spirit of artistic independence and individuality. One work from each of these artists will be purchased with funds from the Newman Foundation and gifted to the Jewish Museum. Artists include Lynda Benglis, Mark Bradford, Tony Cragg, Rebecca Horn, Joan Jonas, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Larry Poons, Nancy Rubins, Richard Serra, Sarah Sze, Philip Taaffe, Terry Winters, and Jack Youngerman, among others. This will be the first time many of these artists will have their work included in the Jewish Museum’s collection.

A series of exhibitions drawn from the gift will be on view at the Jewish Museum beginning in 2019.

In addition, the gift will endow the Museum’s first curatorial position dedicated to contemporary art. Kelly Taxter, formerly an Associate Curator at the Jewish Museum, has been named the first Barnett and Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art.

About The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation and The Barnett Newman Foundation
The Barnett Newman Foundation promotes Newman’s legacy as an artist, holds and manages his copyrights, and maintains the archive. The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation is a separate foundation set up by Annalee Newman in 1996 for the purposes of grant making and more general support of the arts. The gift to the Jewish Museum is from the latter foundation, The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation.

About the Jewish Museum
Located on New York City’s famed Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum is a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Founded in 1904, the Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. Devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary, the Museum offers diverse exhibitions and programs, and maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years.

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