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Major 20th-Century Private Sculpture Collection Goes to Chazen Museum of Art
Lee Bontecou (American, b. 1931), Bird, 1958, bronze, 21 3/4 x 11 3/4 x 31 in. Terese and Alvin S. Lane Collection, 6.1

MADISON, WI.- A major private collection of 20th-century sculpture will be made accessible to the public in its new home at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The museum announced the gift of the renowned Terese and Alvin S. lane collection, comprising more than 70 sculptures and 250 preparatory drawings by artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, and David Smith, among other modern masters. The works will be installed in the museum’s expanded facility, which opens October 2011 and is designed by the team of Machado and Silvetti Associates and Continuum Architects + Planners.

Over the course of four decades, New Yorkers Terese and Alvin S. Lane carefully assembled a collection of sculptural works dating from 1915 through the mid-1980s, with many of the most important artists of the period represented. The couple added depth to the collection by acquiring related works on paper, often working closely with the artists to do so. When viewed together, the three-dimensional pieces and preparatory drawings provide insight into the creative process. This visual exchange is essential to the lane collection, which was first presented publicly in an exhibition at the Chazen in 1995, on the occasion of the museum’s 25th anniversary. Fifteen works have been added since 1995. A selection from the collection was also exhibited in 2008.

In 1958, Alvin and Terese Lane acquired their first sculpture—José de Rivera’s motorized stainless steel Construction #46; Alvin Lane loved “the work’s sheer beauty.” Over the next three decades the Lanes acquired works by more than fifty American and European sculptors. Particularly rare pieces include Lee Bontecou’s bronze Bird (1958), Seymour Lipton’s Cerberus (1947), and John Storrs’ Forms in Space (ca. 1926). The Lanes’ fascination with the creative process inspired them to collect drawings by the sculptors represented in their collection. Their four sculptures by David Smith are accompanied by thirty-five of the artist’s drawings. The collection also includes significant drawings by Alexander Archipenko, Lee Bontecou, Alexander Calder, Julio González, Jacques Lipchitz, Seymour Lipton, Antoine Pevsner, Theodore Roszak, and John Storrs, among others.

In anticipation of receiving the Lane gift, the museum acquired sculptures and drawings that complemented their collection and created a more complete art historical teaching tool. For example, the Chazen purchased a unique lead cast of Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s Le cheval (conceived in 1914), Roszak’s Red Monument to the Lost Dirigible (1939–40), and Antoine Pevsner’s Construction in the Round (1925), as well as 117 drawings by the Pevsner ranging in date from 1912 through the late 1950s.

“An alumnus of the university and a devoted member of the museum’s advisory council, Alvin had a rare and deliberately didactic approach to collecting, focused from the outset on creating juxtapositions between sculpture and works on paper that revealed an artist’s process,” said museum director Russell Panczenko. “This extraordinary gift from a longstanding supporter in New York is a testament to our critical role as an educational resource for the campus and the broader community. It comes at a time when we are strengthening our service to students and other visitors with an expansion underway that will more than double the space for the study and presentation of our collections.”

“Our parents collected in a very thoughtful manner, and built a collection that is greater than the sum of its individual pieces,” said daughter Judy Lane. “It was therefore critical to them that the works be kept together and made accessible to the public, a vision that the Chazen Museum of Art understood and shared. Some of my father’s happiest experiences were at college in Madison, so it was deeply rewarding for him to be able to give back this incredible legacy.”

Chazen Museum of Art | Terese and Alvin S. Lane Collection | Jean Arp | Alexander Calder | Louise Nevelson | Pablo Picasso |

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