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February 16, 2023

Agnes Gund Donates $1 Million to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, for Acquisitions of Art by Black Artists

Dindga McCannon, "Woman #1"

Dindga McCannon
Woman #1, 1975–1977
acrylic on canvas
overall: 106.68 × 83.82 cm (42 × 33 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Funds from Agnes Gund

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art announced today that arts patron Agnes Gund has donated $1 million to the museum to fund the acquisition of work by Black artists.

“We are incredibly grateful to Agnes Gund for this vital gift, which supports our mission to serve the nation by welcoming all people to explore art, creativity, and our shared humanity. We are eager to engage new and familiar audiences with remarkable works of art representing the perspectives and lived experiences of Black artists,” said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art.

To date, three works have been acquired, in whole or part, with funds from Gund’s generous gift. All are by preeminent Black artists of the 20th and 21st centuries: Woman #1 (1975–1977) by Dindga McCannon; Farmer (1965) by Benny Andrews; and The Manger (1945) by Romare Bearden.

McCannon’s Woman #1 is emblematic of the creativity of Black feminist artists as they faced challenges of work and motherhood in the mid-20th-century art world. Farmer is the first painting by Andrews to enter our collection and evokes the artist’s early life in Georgia, an experience that informed Andrews’s art making throughout his career. Both works will be on view in a new installation in the East Building, The Interior Life: Recent Acquisitions, from March 17 through August 2023.

Bearden’s The Manger is a key work from his breakthrough 1945 exhibition The Passion of Christ at the Samuel Kootz Gallery in New York and the first painting by Bearden to enter our collection. Farmer and The Manger acquisitions are made possible by a gift of funds from Agnes Gund and through the generosity of P. Bruce Marine and Donald Hardy.

A longtime member of the National Gallery’s Collectors Committee, Gund has been a steadfast supporter of enhancing the nation’s holdings of modern and contemporary art. She previously donated Carl Andre’s The Way North, East, South, West (Uncarved Blocks) (1975) and acquisition funds for several works: Glenn Ligon’s iconic Double America (2012); Thomas Demand’s series Presidency (2008), with Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder; and Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Know nothing, Believe anything, Forget everything) (1987/2014), along with a group of other donors and the Collectors Committee.

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