Greenwich couple promises 70-piece art collection to Bruce Museum, with pieces from Picasso, Wyeth and more

GREENWICH – The Bruce Museum announced it will receive the largest gift of art in its 112-year history, a 70-piece private collection that an anonymous Greenwich couple has promised as a bequest.

Art lovers can set eyes on these masterpieces when the museum’s renovations and expansion are completed next March. The art donors will loan selections to celebrate the museum’s grand reopening of the New Bruce.

“This gift is unprecedented in its scale and quality, and these works will further define the New Bruce as a museum that explores global stories of Modern and Contemporary art,” Robert Wolterstorff, the museum’s executive director and CEO, said in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful to the donors of these magnificent works who have actively supported the Greenwich community for decades and now can be assured that their generosity will inspire and educate generations to come.”

The collection of sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints and photographs spans over a century of European and American art and includes works by noted artists, including Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore and Andrew Wyeth, among others.

“We have collected these artworks simply because we think they are beautiful and we enjoy seeing them every day in our home,” the donors said. “We have lived in Greenwich a long time and what better place to share our collection with the community than the exciting New Bruce.”

The anonymous donors have also contributed to the New Bruce building campaign, which is helping to fund the $60 million expansion of the museum. The project will double the size of the existing building and create modern galleries for exhibitions and installations, as well as state-of-the art spaces for education and community events.

Margarita Karasoulas, curator of art at the Bruce, will oversee the installation of the loaned artwork for the New Bruce’s grand opening.

“It is an extraordinarily rich collection that will transform the Bruce Museum, giving us a deep stake in European and American Impressionism, Modernism, and Realism,” Wolterstorff said. “This visionary gift will make the Bruce a place to experience again and again. Works like these will become old friends that you seek out each time you visit. And they will become vital to our education and public programs. Great works of art such as these will change your life, the lives of your kids, the life of this community.”

The collection explores European and American figural tradition from artists such as Amerian painter Winslow Homer, American Impressionists Childe Hassam and John Singer Sargent, French impressionist Camille Pissarro, Childe Hassam and even a rare Pablo Picasso.

Among the works is Edward Hopper’s “Two Comedians,” his last work and “Bridle Path,” a dramatic painting of a trio of riders in Central Park. Mary Cassatt’s oil painting, “Two Little Sisters,” is part of the bequest, along with a group of her color etchings with aquatint, revolutionary works that translated the aesthetic of Japanese color prints into the Impressionist idiom.

Located in Bruce Park overlooking Greenwich Harbor, the Bruce Museum was built as a private home in 1853. Robert Moffat Bruce, a textile merchant, bought the property in 1858 and deeded it to the town of Greenwich in 1908.

“On behalf of my fellow trustees and all who love the Bruce Museum, I am sincerely humbled by the generosity, the foresight, and altruism of this local family,” James B. Lockhart III, chair of the Bruce Museum’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “The gift of this exceptional collection is a truly a game-changer for the Museum and our community.

“We also hope this couple’s commitment to the future of the Bruce will inspire others to endow the museum with their own philanthropic support and consider gifting works of art to the permanent collection.”

annelise.hanshaw@hearstmediact.com

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