The Anderson Collection at Stanford University receives new gifts of art

Works by Bill Jensen, Manuel Neri and Mary Weatherford expand the reach and depth of the collection.

The Anderson Collection at Stanford University accepted 13 gifts of art into the museum’s permanent collection this academic year. These are the first acquisitions since the museum opened in 2014, and the first gifts not from the Anderson family. This is welcome news for students, faculty, the Stanford community, the Anderson family and beyond.

Mary Weatherford’s “black painting"

Anderson Collection patrons Christine Nicholas and Julia Procopé stop to discuss Mary Weatherford’s “black painting,” a gift of Debra and Steven Wisch in honor of the Anderson family. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

New to the collection is Bill Jensen’s watercolor and gouache Study for Denial, 1985-86; three sculptural works and eight works on paper ranging from 1958 to 1997 by Manuel Neri; and Mary Weatherford’s black painting, 2017.

The new acquisitions are in keeping with the original collection of 121 works of post-World War II modern and contemporary American art by 86 artists given to Stanford by Harry W. “Hunk” and Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson and their daughter, Mary Patricia “Putter” Anderson Pence, the Bay Area family which has been collecting art for over 50 years. The collection is anchored in Bay Area Figuration and the work of the New York School Abstract Expressionists and Color Field painters. Additionally, the collection presents Hard-Edge Painting, Post-Minimalism, Bay Area Abstraction and contemporary painting.

Jason Linetzky, director of the Anderson Collection, is delighted with the acquisitions and the precedent that it sets for the museum. “I am tremendously appreciative of the outpouring of support from our donors. Each gift is significant and serves to move the Anderson Collection at Stanford University forward in its pursuit to present contemporary artists, share new works and expand the depth of the collection at the highest level.

“As the museum enters this next chapter in its evolution, I remain extremely grateful to the Anderson family for their vision to collect and share, and inspire others to do the same,” he said.

13 works by three artists

Bill Jensen (b. 1945) and Mary Weatherford (b. 1963) are contemporary painters, while Manuel Neri (b. 1930) is long associated with Bay Area Figuration. Works by Jensen and Neri were part of the original Anderson Collection gift. Weatherford brings the number of artists in the Anderson Collection at Stanford University to 87.

Mary C. Downe’s gift of Study for Denial by Jensen is a preparatory painting for Denial, 1983-86, included in the original Anderson Collection together with two other Jensen works.

Denial is a theme Jensen considered and worked with across media over several years. This gift allows the museum to present the artist’s work in greater depth and to share an element of the art-making process with students, faculty and visitors.

The 11 works by Manuel Neri, gifted by The Manuel Neri Trust, join Untitled Standing Figure, 1982, a noted work in pigment on plaster in the original Anderson Collection. The California native is known for working across media and the new acquisitions include an important early aluminum sculpture of the artist Joan Brown, a marble sculpture, a group of bronze reliefs cast from plaster originals (which were used as models for unique marble carvings) and eight related works on paper.

A special exhibition featuring the new Neri works is planned for Sept. 15, 2017, to Feb. 12, 2018.

California native

Weatherford, another California native, is one of the most sought after contemporary painters of our time, according to Linetzky. The Flashe and neon on linen black painting, from the 2016-2017 suite of paintings called like the land loves the sea, is a gift of Debra and Steven Wisch ’83, building donors and art collectors, in honor of the Anderson family.

The monumentality, fluidity and gestural application of paint grounds Weatherford’s work in the history of Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painting. The installation at the Anderson Collection presents her works with this earlier generation of artists: Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Mark Rothko.

Weatherford said she is “rather proud” of her work being given to Stanford, as her mother, Regina Weatherford (formerly Kunzel) ’57, grandmother Wana Kunzel (formerly Keesling) ’25, and grandfather Fred Kunzel ’26 and JD ’27, are Stanford alumni. She first became aware of the Anderson family as art collectors while working at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York in the 1980s, and most recently visited the Stanford campus in February 2016. Less than a year later, one of her large-scale paintings was given to the Anderson Collection at Stanford University.

The Anderson family is thrilled about the addition of these new works because they extend the contemporary reach of the museum’s collection and the depth of its holdings across media.