The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

The Modern Spirit: Selections from the Edward J. Gallagher III Memorial Collection

An Unfolding Legacy
Franz Kline, Black and White, 1955, ink
Fernand Leger, Abstraction, 1938, gouache
John Piper, Stone Road, Portland, c. 1953, oil
Karel Appel, Spring, 1953, oil
Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1953, oil

November 22, 2013- March 24, 2014

More than twenty years after his son, Edward Gallagher III tragically died in an accident at the age of 13, Baltimore businessman, Edward Gallagher, Jr. contacted UA President Richard Harvill, inquiring about the University’s art collection. Inspired by the great Kress giveaway of art across America, Gallagher’s wish was to create a lasting memorial for his young son by establishing a Modern art collection to be enjoyed by future generations.

Gallagher referred to himself as “A Sunday Painter” and he experimented with many different art styles. Although he never proclaimed his own art as “great”, he certainly had an eye for the top contemporary artists in the world, stressing that he did not just buy names—rather he sought works that the masses would enjoy. He communicated with dealers, sought advice from his friends, and traveled to artist studios—some of them well-known, and some not. Between 1954 and 1978, almost 200 works of art were delivered periodically to the museum. President Harvill once described the collection as, “one of the greatest contributions that has been made to the University of Arizona by any friends of this institution.”

This exhibition not only highlights top Modern artists such as: Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Matsumi Kanemitsu, Milton Avery, and Yves Tanguy, but also offers insight into how and why Gallagher acquired these works for UAMA. It offers a rare opportunity to see the art from the collector’s point of view.

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