A Celebration of Donors
During the Art Museum’s fortieth anniversary year, we are celebrating the passion and insight of our donors whose generosity has meaningfully shaped the collection. We open this year recognizing significant gifts from Robert C. May, George and Susan Proskauer, Gerald T. and Ann W. Silvers, and Mr. and Mrs. James Wenneker.
The name Robert C. May is intimately connected to photography at UK. The endowment he created funds a highly respected annual lecture series, and has thus far supported the purchase of 465 works, making photography a key component of the Museum’s holdings. His bequest also included approximately one hundred works by leading twentieth-century photographers including Berenice Abbot, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Walker Evans, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard, as well as almost 1,300 of his own photographs.
George and Susan Proskauer, refugees from Nazi Germany, lived for many years in Ohio where George was a pathologist and Susan was a clothing designer. They retired to Buck Pond Farm in Versailles to breed horses. Their 1992 bequest of more than 200 works is a modernist treasure trove, including work by Europeans such as Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso and Americans Milton Avery and Alexander Calder. They also gifted exquisite art glass ranging from Tiffany and Steuben to Gallé and Daum, and fine examples of American folk art.
A passion for late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American art guided the formation of the collection of Ann and Gerald Silvers. The couple specialized in—but did not limit themselves to—the work of artists who were part of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky arts community at the turn of the century. Among their gifts have been work by Charles Salis Kaelin, Frank Harmon Myers, John Henry Twachtman, and John Ellsworth Weis.
Nineteenth-century French art—with a few diversions to Austria and America—was the primary interest of James Wenneker, well known as a businessman and philanthropist in Lexington. His gifts to the museum range from beautiful drawings by William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Léon Augustin L’hermitte to a painting by the well-known military artist Jean-Baptiste Edouard Detaille. A winsome portrait, The Mascot by Jules-Adolphe Goupil, is a Museum favorite.
image: Milton Avery, Green Sea, 1958, oil on canvas board. Collection of the UK Art Museum, bequest of George and Susan Proskauer.
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