Community - August 4, 2010

Obituary: George Saxe, nationally known art collector

George B. Saxe of Menlo Park, who with his wife, Dorothy, amassed one of the nation's finest collections of contemporary crafts, died July 28 in Palo Alto. He was 89.

The Saxe collection of contemporary craft has its own permanent gallery in the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco and has been exhibited in six other museums, including the Smithsonian and the Oakland Museum.

The couple began collecting in 1980, focusing only on glass in the beginning. They later expanded into ceramics, fiber, metal and wood. Mr. Saxe was a major supporter of well-known figures in the glass art scene, such as Dale Chihuly and William Morris, but he also collected work by contemporary sculptors, such as Lynda Benglis and Kiki Smith, who align themselves more with the wider contemporary art world, according to the Glass Quarterly.

Mr. Saxe served as a trustee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Saxes traveled around the world with museum groups.

Born in Mount Union, Pennsylvania, Mr. Saxe was a graduate of Mercersburg Academy and Cornell University. After serving in Europe during World War II, he married Dorothy Ruby in 1947 in Michigan City, Indiana.

In 1959, the Saxes moved to Palo Alto, where he established a successful real estate development business. They were longtime Menlo Park residents.

A member and past president of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Mr. Saxe served on the board of many organizations, including the Jewish Home of San Francisco, the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, Pilchuk Glass School, and California College of the Arts, as well as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Mr. Saxe is survived by his wife, Dorothy; sons Loren and Joel; a daughter, Ellen; and six grandchildren.

Memorials in honor of Mr. Saxe may be made to Congregation Beth Am, California College of the Arts, the Jewish Home of San Francisco, or the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.


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