Seattle University to receive $300 million art collection

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Seattle University to receive $300 million art collection
Gustav Courbet (French, 1819-1877), Le Moulin, 1874/6. Oil on canvas, 28 ¾ X 39 ½ in (73 X 100.3 cm). Image courtesy of Richard Hedreen.

by Christopher Kuo

NEW YORK, NY.- Seattle University is making plans for a new art museum, thanks to a gift of a $300 million art collection and $25 million in seed money from a donor, the university trustees announced Wednesday.

The donation — by Richard Hedreen, a real estate developer — is the largest gift in the history of the university, a Jesuit institution founded in 1891, the trustees said in a statement.

Hedreen is donating his entire collection, which has more than 200 works of art dating from the 15th century to today, including art by Thomas Gainsborough, Lucian Freud and Amy Sherald.

“It’s a remarkable teaching collection,” the university’s president, Eduardo Peñalver, said in a phone interview, adding that “we look forward to having that on our campus and have our faculty, our students be able to use that across the entire curriculum in sparking their own learning and discussion.”

Hedreen said in a statement that he was donating the collection in honor of his wife, Betty, who was a Seattle University alumna and served on the Seattle Art Museum board of trustees. She died in 2022.

“I’m confident that a Jesuit university, which focuses on teaching and the visual arts, poetry, literature, history, education is the right place to have a museum that can teach art history,” Hedreen said in a phone interview.

The new museum will be open to students and the public, Peñalver said, adding that it would be “a bridge between our campus and the city.”

Edgar Gonzalez, the vice president for university advancement, wrote in an email that the university has already begun discussions with an architect related to the planned museum and that the project would take about three to five years to complete. “The seed funding will allow us to begin moving forward with the project immediately,” Gonzalez wrote.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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