Fort Wayne Museum of Art gets largest gift of art museum’s history

November 9th, 2016

By Cindy Larson | News-Sentinel

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art announced Monday it has received its largest gift of art to date – more than 700 works valued at $6.2 million from the estate of acclaimed American artist David Shapiro.

The gift is the largest in scope and value in the history of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, according to a news release. The more than 200 paintings and 500 prints are now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Shapiro was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1944. He earned a bachelor of fine art degree from Pratt Institute in 1966, and his master of fine arts degree from Indiana University in 1968.

His paintings and prints, according to the author Mason Riddle, “comprise a highly personal language of signs and symbols. Circles, spirals, dots, wave and knot patterns, stylized flames and textures resonate on richly hued, tactile surfaces of Nepalese and Japanese papers, burlap, nylon screening and canvas, evoking a subtle mood of contemplation.”

FWMoA CEO and Chief Curator Charles Shepard said in a statement, “Before his untimely death in 2014, David Shapiro had already secured his place in the history of contemporary art by having major museums around the world add both his paintings and prints to their highly regarded collections. That said, the full impact of David’s contributions to the aesthetics of American painting and printmaking in the late 20th/early 21st centuries has yet to be recognized. ... The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is especially proud of being chosen by David’s estate to establish an extensive archive of his prints and paintings.”

Shapiro’s work is included in many public and private collections including The Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Kunsthalle der Stadt in Nuremberg, Germany.

This gift is the fourth in a series of other major gifts made by artists to the FWMoA in the past two years, including 110 prints by Robert Kipniss, 95 prints by Katja Oxman, and 230 prints and paintings by Steven Sorman.

Amy Schreiber, executive assistant for advancement and administration at FWMoA, said the Shapiro collection already is at the museum, but “it will not be on display until next year, and no, we will not be exhibiting the entire collection at once. That would be impossible given the size of the gift.”

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