Henry receives major gift of contemporary art from Seattle philanthropists Shari and John Behnke

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Henry receives major gift of contemporary art from Seattle philanthropists Shari and John Behnke
SuttonBeresCuller. Puzzle (131). 2011. Acrylic on wood. Henry Art Gallery, Gift of John and Shari Behnke, 2018.51.

SEATTLE, WA.- Henry Director Sylvia Wolf announces a recent gift of 51 works of art to the Henry from the collection of Seattle philanthropists and contemporary art collectors John and Shari Behnke. This donation includes works on paper, photography, video, and sculpture by 44 artists from 12 countries, including Raymond Boisjoly, Helen Chadwick, Tom Friedman, Ori Gerscht, Jane Hammond, Rachel Harrison, David Hartt, Aaron Flint Jameson, Jennie C. Jones, Justine Kurland, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Marlene McCarty, Eileen Quinlan, and SuttonBeresCuller.

The Behnke family's commitment to the Henry is deep and generational. John Behnke’s late father Robert was a passionate advocate for the Henry, serving on its Board from 1973 to 1999. John served on the Henry Board from 2000 to 2014 and as Board Chair from 2007-2010. Shari and John are current members of the Henry Advisory Council and Collections Committee.

In 2008, the Behnkes founded The Brink, a biennial award, which celebrated the work of five emerging artists from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia over ten years. In 2014, the Behnkes endowed the Henry Director position. In addition, they have long given generously to the museum through works of art and by supporting exhibitions and fundraising efforts. In 2010, they became UW Laureates for their transformative and long-term engagement with the Henry.

“We are delighted that the Henry—a globally recognized contemporary art museum—will be the home for these works from our collection,” says Shari Behnke.

“This is an extraordinarily generous gift, not just to the Henry, but to the entire Pacific Northwest region," Henry Director Sylvia Wolf adds. "It allows us to place these iconic works in the public trust for generations to come.”

The Henry's collection originated in 1926 with a gift of 152 nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings donated to the University of Washington by Horace C. Henry, the museum's founder. Today, the collection contains more than 27,000 objects from around the world in a broad range of media including photographs, prints, drawings, paintings, ceramics, costumes, and textiles. Much of the Henry's collection is accessible to the public both online as well as in person through the Eleanor Henry Reed Collection Study Center (by appointment please).

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