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PAFA announces 88 new acquisitions: Purvis Young, General Idea, Liliana Porter, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, more
General Idea, Great AIDS (Ultramarine Blue), 1990/2019. Acrylic on linen, in four panels. 118 1/8 x 118 1/8 inches. Museum purchase. © General Idea.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts announced the addition of 88 historic, modern, and contemporary works to its renowned permanent collection of American art. These new acquisitions include works in painting, sculpture, ceramic, wire and found objects, photography, and works on paper, among other media, created between c.1839 and 2019.

Among the works in this group of new acquisitions are General Idea’s Great AIDS (Ultramarine Blue) (1990/2019); a 1997 mixed-media work by Liliana Porter (b. 1941); 12 photographs from the series An Indian from India-Portfolio by Annu Palakunnathu Matthew (b. 1964); three pencilon- paper works by Sharka Hyland (b. 1954); a 1985 sculpture in unbleached Belgian linen paper, redwood, and silver Mylar by Winifred Lutz (b. 1942); a c. 1839 oil portrait by Robert Street (1796-1865); and a 2017 work on paper by Astrid Bowlby (b. 1961).

Philadelphia artist Kambel Smith’s (b. 1986) work titled PAFA (2019), a cardboard and foamboard sculpture of PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building, is another new addition to the permanent collection. Smith renders the Frank Furness-designed, 1876 landmark with vivid detail and keen attention to the distinctive architectural traits and flourishes that led historian George E. Thomas to declare it the first truly modern building. Another Philadelphia-based artist, PAFA alumnus Jonathan Lyndon Chase ‘16 (b. 1989), is featured in this group of acquisitions with a lithograph created during the artist’s residency at the Brodsky Center at PAFA. Chase’s For you For us Come back soon (2019) is an example of the vital and thriving contemporary printmaking community in Philadelphia, a city that has long been considered a national hub for the medium.

These new acquisitions include a number of generous gifts consisting of multiple artworks. In recognition of Janet Fleisher, Jill Bonovitz and Nancy Hellebrand have gifted PAFA with numerous works by major self-taught artists, including five untitled paintings by Purvis Young (1943-2010) and 10 untitled works in wire and found objects by Philadelphia Wireman (b. 1930). 15 untitled ceramic works by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983) are gifts of the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection. Judith and Jonathan Stein have gifted PAFA with three paintings by PAFA alumnus Lazar Raditz (1887-1956) in memory of Jonathan Flaccus. Finally, Becky and Gilbert Kerlin have gifted PAFA with 33 prints and drawings by numerous contemporary artists, including Astrid Bowlby, Bruce Conner (1933-2008), Christine Hiebert (b. 1960), Linn Meyers (b. 1968), and Barbara Takenaga (b. 1949), among others.

“It is such a joy when PAFA’s mission to celebrate all facets of American art aligns so fully with the generosity of our community,” said Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum. “PAFA is fortunate to have received these extraordinary gifts, including works by important self-taught artists and Philadelphia artists, all of which will enrich our permanent collection and allow us to continue to tell the story of American art in a way that is inclusive and expansive.”

“General Idea’s Great AIDS (Ultramarine Blue), recently featured in PAFA’s exhibition Ancient History of the Distant Future, is an immediately striking and graphically powerful painting, created in response to the global AIDS epidemic,” said Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art. “Today, in the context of another public health emergency, this work is a reminder of the potent and essential role of art and artists in times of crisis.”

Expanding and diversifying its permanent collection through gifts and purchases is a key focus of PAFA’s mission. The purchases are made through collections endowments and dedicated collections funds, as well as gifts.

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