The Weisman Art Foundation
I’ve been thinking about doing a series of posts about Los Angeles collections. Does everyone know who the supporters of the L.A. art world were in the early days? It’s a huge part of the Pacific Standard Time history, and is addressed in the first chapter of the Getty’s publication (just issued). Local support is chronicled by authors Rebecca Pebody, Andrew Perchuk, Glenn Phillips, and Rani Singh. They rightfully cite the efforts of Galka Scheyer, who championed the Blue Four (Lyonel Feininger, Alexi Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, and–my favorite since childhood–Paul Klee). Moving forward, the authors also recount the great, devoted collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg (they had as a friend and advisor none other than Marcel Duchamp). It’s just the start of a long story of serious collecting in Los Angeles.
But my thought was to chronicle the many collectors of the burgeoning L.A. scene in the 1960s and beyond. Contrary to the erroneous mythology, there were many, especially those cultivated by Henry T. Hopkins and Walter Hopps in their private classes. One of those was, of course, the Weisman collection. Now known as the Weisman Art Foundation, it’s a treasure trove of great modern and contemporary art, and the Foundation does shows each year throughout the world, often lending to major museums. Take, for instance, the loan of DeKooning’s Pink Angels to the current (and highly praised) retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.
Fortunately for me, William Poundstone has already done a superb job of writing a post about the Weisman Foundation on his blog, Los Angeles County Museum on Fire. There you’ll see photos of the interior of the house and collection. I’ve often taken museum and collector groups to the Weisman Foundation. Though it does require some logistics, it’s well worth it. An easy way to see a selection of works (this one just by California artists) is to head out to the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, on the campus of Pepperdine University. There’s a great exhibition of works on view until December 4th. As you might imagine, one of the star pieces in the show is Craig Kauffman’s Yellow-Blue, from 1965, a superb example of Kauffman’s work.