Cincinnati collectors Nancy and David Wolf have promised a bequest of the majority of their nationally recognized collection of contemporary craft to the Cincinnati Art Museum
. This major gift of nearly 200 works will establish the Art Museum as a major center for the exhibition, study and research of contemporary craft. To preserve and expand the collection, the Wolfs have established the Nancy and David Wolf Endowment Fund.
“Throughout its 128-year history, the Art Museum has maintained a strong commitment to collect and showcase contemporary craft,” said Director Aaron Betsky. “We are very grateful to the Wolfs for this extraordinary gift, which will allow us to share and preserve these innovative works for current and future generations.”
The Wolfs’ gift will include works by the foremost artists working in contemporary craft, including Dale Chihuly, Howard Ben Tré, William Morris, Jaroslava Brychtová and Stanislav Libenský in glass; Wendell Castle, Rude Osolnik, David Ellsworth and Binh Pho in wood; and Viola Frey, Michael Lucero, Betty Woodman and Akio Takamori in ceramics. The Wolfs have also promised a donation of their extensive library of books, periodicals, pamphlets, brochures and files pertaining to their collection. This material will become part of the Art Museum’s Mary R. Schiff Library, forming an important scholarly resource for researchers.
“We would love for the collection to remain intact, and Cincinnati has always been my home, and Nancy’s home for the majority of her life,” said David Wolf. “So, it made sense for the collection to remain in Cincinnati. Cincinnati has been good to us, and we feel that this is a way to add our legacy, and in some way make Cincinnati a better place. We have enjoyed working with the Art Museum, Anita Ellis, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs, and Associate Curator Amy Dehan. All of these reasons helped us make the decision to gift our collection to the Cincinnati Art Museum. I hope that our gift will act as a catalyst to keep contemporary craft in the forefront.”
Selections from the Nancy and David Wolf Collection are currently on view at the Art Museum through September 13 in the special exhibition Outside the Ordinary: Contemporary Art in Glass, Wood, and Ceramics from the Wolf Collection. The accompanying full-color catalogue publishes many of the included works for the first time.
“In Outside the Ordinary, visitors have a chance to see works by contemporary artists who challenge the material expectations of glass, wood and ceramics to create extraordinary works of art,” said Amy Dehan, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts and Design. “This exhibition is a celebration of the best work produced in contemporary craft, and a celebration of the Wolfs’ generous promised gift to our community.”
Nancy and David Wolf began collecting contemporary craft almost thirty-five years ago. They have traveled extensively to meet artists; visit museums, private collections and galleries; attend lectures and workshops; and add new pieces to their ever-growing collection. In March 2006, Art and Antiques Magazine named them among America’s Top 100 Collectors. Longtime supporters of the Art Museum, the Wolfs have previously donated 16 pieces of contemporary glass to the collections and contributed funds toward the acquisition of Dale Chihuly’s Rio Delle Torreselle Chandelier (1996), which is permanently installed in the Art Museum’s lobby.