BALTIMORE, MD.- The Walters Art Museum
announces today a major gift from John Bourne of Santa Fe, N.M, including 70 artworks from the Ancient Americas and approximately 230 additional planned gifts. He will also provide a $4 million bequest from his estate to help endow a center for the study, conservation, interpretation and display of the arts of the Ancient Americas.
This extraordinary gift will vault the Walters into a position of leadership among American museums in this new and exciting area of collecting and research, said Walters Board President Douglas W. Hamilton, Jr. It will provide the Walters with an extraordinary opportunity to expand its engagement with Marylands rapidly growing Hispanic community.
More than a century ago, museum founder Henry Walters pioneered the collecting of the arts of the Ancient Americas. Now, his small collection will be greatly augmented by this generous gift from John Bourne, said Walters Director Gary Vikan. It has long been my dream to be able to tell the story of art and culture in the western hemisphere in a way that complements the story we tell through our extraordinary holdings of ancient and medieval art of the Mediterranean and Europe.
The Bourne gift complements a gift in 2009 from the Ziff family of New York City. With that earlier gift, the museum was able to endow the position of curator of the arts of the Ancient Americas and partially endow a conservation position and an exhibition fund. In all, the new center will include three endowed staff positionsa curator, a conservator and an educatoras well as an endowed exhibition fund, an endowed acquisition fund and a fund for the creation of a gallery devoted to the arts of the Ancient Americas.
To share these new acquisitions with the public, the Walters will present the special exhibition Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift from February 12 through May 20, 2012. Drawn from the collection that Bourne began in 1940, this exhibition will present approximately 129 works from the collection of ancient Mesoamerican, Central American and Andean South American art, spanning more than 2,500 years from 1200 b.c. to a.d. 1530. The exhibition will travel to the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History in New Mexico from June 10 through August 26, 2012.