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Cantors to give $10 million for museum expansion

STANFORD -- Patrons Iris and B. Gerald Cantor will give $10 million toward the renovation and expansion of the Stanford University Museum of Art, Stanford President Gerhard Casper announced Tuesday, March 15.

The rebuilding and expansion project will include the renovation of the existing 1891 building, which was severely damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake; the enhancement of the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden; and the building of a new 36,000-square-foot wing.

The complex will be known as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford, and is scheduled for completion in 1997.

With the gift by the Cantors as principal benefactors of the renovation and expansion program, Stanford has $21 million in commitments from individuals and $6 million in federal earthquake disaster assistance toward the $29 million estimated for the project. The architectural process is under way and the competition has been narrowed to three candidates. The final selection is scheduled to be made in May 1994.

"Since the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 1989, the Stanford University Museum of Art has been closed due to the serious damage the structure sustained," Casper said. "This magnificent gift will bring back to life this important university and community resource and allow us to modernize the present facilities, build new gallery and teaching spaces, and provide an enriched environment for learning."

The complex, Casper said, "will appropriately honor a couple whose philanthropy toward the arts embodies the ideals of liberal learning."

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts will bring together three interrelated facilities into one complex for the visual arts. The center, according to Thomas K. Seligman, the John and Jill Freidenrich Director of the Stanford University Museum of Art, will reinforce the goals of integrating the museum's programs more fully with the university, and broadening the museum's audience in the campus and the community.

"While the disaster of the 1989 earthquake posed a very real threat to the museum and its programs," Seligman said, "it nevertheless provided the university with a singular opportunity to take the program of the museum forward dramatically.

"The damage wrought to the old museum building has given us a chance to rethink the space needed to sustain a much more vigorous program while modernizing all of our facilities," he said. "In short, it has enabled us for the first time to conceive of an art center, one that will meld both historic and innovative physical elements into a greatly enriched program for the visual arts at Stanford."

The center will encompass the Stanford University Museum of Art, which will be restored and upgraded; the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden; and a new museum wing, which will be dedicated principally to the art of the 20th century.

The galleries of the new wing will be highly flexible spaces designed to accommodate large works, and will feature installations of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Print Collection at Stanford as well as changing exhibitions. The center also will contain two internal sculpture gardens and visitor amenities - a cafe, bookstore and lecture/seminar rooms.

The Cantors have actively supported Stanford and Rodin studies since 1969, under the direction of Rodin scholar Albert Elsen, the Walter A. Haas Professor of Art History. The couple has donated 185 Rodin sculptures in bronze, plaster, terra-cotta, ceramic and stone, including The Thinker, The Gates of Hell, Burghers of Calais and The Three Shades, to the Stanford Museum for its B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden and the Stanford campus outdoor art program.

In addition, Mr. Cantor has contributed extensive archival material, including manuscripts, drawings, photographs and memorabilia from Rodin's lifetime, and established the Rodin Research Fund in the Department of Art, which enables doctoral candidates to conduct research and travel abroad.

Known as Cantor Fellows, many of those scholars are now on the staffs of major museums and the faculties of such institutions as New York's Museum of Modern Art; New York University; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (of the Smithsonian Institution) in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design; and the University of Virginia.

Over the years, Stanford has become a major world resource on Rodin; thanks to the Cantors, the museum's collections are augmented by the most complete Rodin holdings outside of the Musee Rodin in Paris.

The Stanford University Museum of Art was founded in 1891 by Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, in memory of their son, Leland Jr. The collections today are a major resource for the education of Stanford students and include about 20,000 objects. In addition to the significant holdings of Rodin sculptures, there are an important collection of American and European drawings, prints and photographs; works in Asian art; European and American paintings; and art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas.



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