UW News

September 27, 2017

Modern American photos, centuries-old European prints donated to Henry Art Gallery

UW News

"A Mans Head," 1542, an engraving on laid paper by Hans Sebald Beham (Germany, 1500-1550) -- among gifts to the Henry Art Gallery from longtime collector Albert Feldmann.

“A Mans Head,” 1542, an engraving on laid paper by Hans Sebald Beham (Germany, 1500-1550) — among gifts to the Henry Art Gallery from longtime collector Albert Feldmann.Henry Art Gallery

The University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery has received two large and prestigious donations — one a collection of centuries-old European prints from Seattle art collector Albert Feldmann, the other scores of images by well-known photographers from the recently-disbanded Washington Art Consortium.

Sylvia Wolf, Henry Art Gallery director, expressed deep appreciation for both donations and the vision and generosity of the donors.

“This is a truly transformative gift,” Wolf said of the 204 European prints from the 15th to 18th centuries by such artists as Francisco Goya, William Hogarth, Albrecht Dürer, Jacques Callot and Giovanni Battista Piranesi donated by Feldmann, a lifelong collector and retired Boeing senior engineer.

Feldmann was a mechanical engineer of some renown who built the first laser and was instrumental in the development of the atomic clock. Across the years he also amassed an exquisite collection of European master prints and an impressive library of books on the subject. He chose the Henry for this gift because he wished the collection to remain local and accessible to students.

“For over 50 years, Mr. Feldmann collected works of the highest quality and finest condition,” said Wolf, whose official title is the John S. Behnke Director of the Henry Art Gallery. She added that this extraordinary collection “will serve as a resource and inspiration for artists, scholars, students and enthusiasts of the art of printmaking for generations to come.”

Also coming to the museum is the “Collection of American Photographs 1970-1980” from the Washington Art Consortium. The collection includes 185 photographs by 33 artists, including images by such American masters as Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Harry Callahan and Lee Friedlander.

The consortium was formed in 1976 by Seattle philanthropist and collector Virginia Wright to bring the work of distinguished modern artists to Washington state and to spur collaboration among the state’s museums. The consortium announced in February that it would disband and disperse its collection to member museums, to provide greater public access to the work.

Highlights of the collection include photographer/filmmaker Larry Clark’s 50-print “Tulsa Portfolio,” from his 1971 book documenting teenage drug addicts, early color photographs by Jan Groover, Bea Nettles, John Pfahl and Eve Sonneman, rare vintage dye transfer prints by William Eggleston and photographic narratives by Duane Michals.

Wolf, a former president of the board of the coalition, expressed gratitude to collector Wright for “having the vision 40 years ago to bring works by important American artists to our state” and for her leadership and support of the arts.

“This extraordinary collection increases our ability to share stellar works of photographic art with our university community and audiences throughout the state of Washington.”

Other members of the Washington Art Consortium were the Seattle Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, the Museum of Art at Washington State University in Pullman, and the Western Gallery at Western Washington University and Whatcom Museum, both in Bellingham.

The Henry’s collection of over 3,000 photographic works dates from the birth of the medium to the current decade, and is the broadest and deepest in the region. The addition of a portion of the consortium’s collection significantly expands the Henry’s holdings from the 1970s and ’80s, an important period in the history of photography.

The Henry, now celebrating its 90th birthday, has collected more than 26,000 objects over the decades, including photographs, new media, sculpture, video, paintings, and works on paper, as well as costumes, textiles, and ceramics.

Works from the Henry may be viewed in the museum’s Eleanor Henry Reed Collection Study Center, which makes items from the permanent collection available by appointment to students, researchers and the public.

On November 4, the Henry will open “The Time. The Place: Contemporary Art from the Collection,” which will focus on contemporary works that have entered the permanent collection in the past 20 years.


For more information about the Henry Art Gallery, its work and collections, call 206-543-2280 or email info@henryart.org.