Andersons give major art collection to Stanford

The university plans to build Anderson Gallery to house 121 works given by the Atherton couple

Click on picture to enlarge and see caption.

By Rebecca Wallace

Embarcadero Media

A veritable arts district is burgeoning at Stanford University, with a new building slated to be built to house a major donation of 20th-century American art.

Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson of Atherton and their daughter Mary Patricia Anderson Pence have announced that they're donating 121 works by 86 artists including Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.

The university plans to open the Anderson Gallery in late 2014, near the Cantor Arts Center, the under-construction Bing Concert Hall, and the planned McMurtry Building for Art and Art History on campus, said Lisa Lapin, assistant vice president for university communications.

She described the art collection "as one of the most valuable and significant to be donated to any university."

Of the new gallery, she said: "The site plans are still being worked out. We need to retain an architect and do a design, so we don't know the cost yet."

Harry and Mary Margaret, who are known as "Hunk" and "Moo," have been assembling their collection for almost 50 years, Ms. Lapin said. It contains work by a variety of modern and contemporary artists, representing such movements as abstract expressionism, California funk art and Bay Area figurative art.

Works slated to be donated -- indoor sculpture and paintings -- include the 1947 painting "Lucifer" by Jackson Pollock, Wayne Thiebaud's 1962 oil "Candy Counter," the 1973 painting "Ocean Park #60" by Richard Diebenkorn, and the 1985 painting "Before, Again IV" by Joan Mitchell.

"The Andersons' contribution is historic and their desire to share this remarkable collection with the world reflects their philosophy that art can inspire all of us," Stanford President John Hennessy said in a press release.

In the same release, Harry and Mary Margaret were quoted as saying, "Throughout our adult lives, we have always been closely associated with colleges and universities, and in making this gift to Stanford we anticipate the students, the public and the entire art community will have the opportunity to fully engage the collection."

The Andersons described the donated pieces as the core of their collection. Some will come from the array that has been exhibited for years at the Quadrus office complex off Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park.

The couple have been collecting art since the mid-1960s, starting with such early modernists as Picasso and Matisse and then concentrating on post-World War II American art. They have lent their works to special exhibitions at the Cantor Arts Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other museums.

==I Go to for more about the Anderson Collection.

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Like this comment
Posted by Rebecca Forrest
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

Really ticks me off, Stanford is always building & laying off people & cutting salaries. Makes NO sense to me. Now they HAVE to build a new "temple" to house this art. Make no mistake I love art as much as the next person. But why can't they hang it in an already existing wing of the Medical Center and leave my husband's salary alone? It's the same pie, damn it!

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2011 at 11:44 am

Rebecca, I had the same thought! I am totally thrilled that this art will be made public locally & that is exciting & fulfilling. I can see people of all ages, from around the world, being able to view it all. But like you, I am concerned about the new building. Have you seen the gorgeous Chihuly in the new stem cell research building? It's incredible. But really, in this economic downturn? Oh, but it was donated by a health non-profit. What the heck?

I admit that my DH's salary hasn't been cut, but given the frozen job reqs, slashed budgets, lack of jobs all over academia, this seems a bit much. Where has the funding come for this building, do you know? I'd love to know more.

Of course, once we know more, it makes the appreciation of this collection a double-edged sword :-(

Like this comment
Posted by Jon Castor
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

A wonderful gift by the Andersons! Once on display, we'll all be able to enjoy their collection.

Like this comment
Posted by the rich get richer
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Although the Andersons' generosity is admirable, note that there is another thread on this forum discussing the fact that two Ravenswood schools will be closed due to lack of funding. Which educational institution, Stanford or the Ravenswood school district, is in greater need of donations?

Stanford is a prestigious institution, and no doubt that is a reason that the Andersons want to be associated with it. But Stanford is also extremely rich already. It is hard not to wonder if the Andersons' beneficence, no matter how well-intended, is monumentally misplaced.

Like this comment
Posted by MJK
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm

To rich get richer

Good point. The art would have to be sold first, which could be handled by an art dealer.

Why don't you contact the Anderson's directly with your thoughts?

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2011 at 1:06 am

It's gonna be awhile, or maybe never, before some wealthy philanthropists wanna cozy up to Ravenswood School District w/their art collection. That said, I've seen a lot of gawkers lately at Zuckerberg's house - it's a little unsettling. But now that he's so close by, is anyone gonna approach him for $$ for RSD?

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jan 15, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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