The gift of art


MCASD grants and art writer Robert Pincus, is flanked by SDMA marketing pros Carrie Jones and Jon Bailey. “I like seeing the two museums collaborating!” Pincus said. Photos by Maurice Hewitt

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

On March 21, the town’s two largest art institutions — Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art — celebrated a grand-scale gift from the estate of longtime La Jolla residents Vance E. Kondon and his wife, Elisabeth Giesberger.

The occasion was a preview of selected works from the Kondon-Giesberger Collection for museum trustees and media, with brief introductions.

A devoted art collector, Dr. Kondon served several terms on MCASD’s Board of Trustees between 1971 and 1981, and his bequest to the contemporary museum includes 30 important minimalist and abstract works from the 1950s to the early 1980s. SDMA received 48 German Expressionist paintings, drawings and prints from the modernist period around World War I.

Kondon had a history of loaning pieces to local venues, including the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art (now MCASD-LJ) and SDMA. But when he and his Dutch-born wife relocated to the Netherlands, the collection went with them. Now, since the deaths of both of them (his in 1997, hers in 2011) many of the works in the $40 million collection he amassed over decades in San Diego have come back home.

MCASD Director Hugh Davies stands beside “Century,” a 1975 white painting by Robert Ryman, which he called “probably the most valuable piece in the whole collection.”

“The gift was a complete surprise,” said MCASD Director Hugh Davies. “Vance Kondon was a passionate art-lover, but after he left for Amsterdam in the early ‘90s, though we always sent him copies of our newsletters, we thought he was through with us. This is literally a dream come true, to have a collection of this caliber fall into our lap.”

SDMA Director Roxana Velasquez spoke of the relationship between philanthropists and museums. “Collectors can buy art,” she said, “but they cannot possess it.”

Some of the minimalist works are now on view downtown as part of MCASD’s “Iconic” show, curated by Kathryn Kanjo.

“I took the most prominent theme in the collection, ‘reductive abstraction’ — reducing art to its essential qualities, line and form — and based the show around that, using only pieces that fit that theme,” Kanjo said. “All of these artists are interested in math and systems. Their pieces are very contemplative; they want you to spend time analyzing what they’re about.”

The German Expressionist works, which John Marciari, SDMA’s Curator of European Art, called “shockingly good,” will be featured in a comprehensive show of German Expressionism called “The Human Beast,” opening at SDMA July 21.

Related posts:

  1. Artful Beginnings
  2. Film artist to speak at Museum of Contemporary Art Thursday in advance of his new exhibit downtown
  3. Kim MacConnel exhibits four decades of work at MCASD
  4. High-energy art ‘zar stages grand opening in La Jolla
  5. Best Bets for fun things to do in and around La Jolla, Dec. 28-Jan. 5

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=61228

Posted by Pat Sherman on Mar 27, 2012. Filed under A & E, Art. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Surf Soccer Club Academy GU9 team tops in division at 2014 Albion Cup July 25, 2014
    The Surf Soccer Club Academy GU9 team took first place in the 2014 Albion Cup (Girls U9 Cup) on July 18-21. They beat Carlsbad United’s top GU9 team in the semi-finals and went on to shut out Strikers FC in the finals, 4-0. Awesome tournament play by the entire team! […]
  • Surf Academy Select BU9 win it all at Albion Cup July 25, 2014
    San Diego Surf Academy Select BU9 won it all at the Albion Cup July 19-21! After winning their Showcase division by going unbeaten all weekend, they defeated Legends FC 4-1 in the finals on Monday. This is the second year in a row this team has won the Albion Cup. […]
  • Pushing boundaries July 24, 2014
    Few issues cause parents more distress than changes in school boundaries. Who can forget the tumult when in 2002 the Del Mar Union School District moved hundreds of families from one attendance area to another? Resentment still lingers, 12 years later. The San Dieguito Union High School District created its system of boundaries nearly 18 years ago that has w […]