The Benaroya Collection Comes to TAM
“…it is a treasured gift that promises to turn into a much-heralded collection. This preview is an exciting opportunity for the art-loving public to get a glimpse of what has until recently been a private collection, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. This is really a gift to the community.”
—Matt Wakefield, blog contributor,
The Huffington Post
Legacy Gift Comprises 353 Works of Studio Art Glass, Paintings, and Sculptures by Northwest and International Artists
Gift Includes Funds for New Wing to be Designed by Tom Kundig, Endowment for Collection Care, and Curatorial Position
Learn more about the Benaroya Wing Expansion here.
Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) announced on January 14, 2016 that Becky Benaroya has bequeathed the collection that she and her late husband Jack Benaroya carefully assembled during their 70 years of marriage. The collection of 353 works includes Northwestern and international studio art glass along with important paintings and sculptures by renowned regional artists. The gift, announced on Mrs. Benaroya’s 93rd birthday, includes a contribution for the construction of a new 7,390 square-foot gallery addition in which to present the collection, an endowment fund for its care, and funds for a dedicated curator. The contribution to support the gift totals nearly $14 million. TAM’s expanding collection further establishes the Pacific Northwest as the nation’s art glass epicenter.
The new wing will be designed by award-winning architect Tom Kundig of Seattle-based Olson Kundig and is projected to open in January 2019. It will house 5,700 square feet of gallery space, in addition to 1,690 square feet for public facilities and support functions. Tom Kundig successfully completed TAM’s Haub Family Galleries in November 2014.
“We’re deeply honored and grateful for this incredible gift to Tacoma,” said Stephanie Stebich, former TAM Executive Director. “We are very pleased to celebrate Becky’s generosity and this exemplary collection with a preview exhibition in October 2016, to give everyone a taste of what is to come when the new galleries open. For Becky to make this extraordinary gift to the public on her birthday is inspiring and we are forever grateful.”
The Benaroya’s gift includes 353 exceptional works, bringing TAM’s glass holdings to nearly 1,000 pieces and placing it among the most important studio art glass collections in the nation. It complements TAM’s permanent retrospective of Dale Chihuly’s works, Anne Gould Hauberg collection, and Paul Marioni studio glass collection. The works in the Benaroya collection represent “the best of the best of these artists,” according to TAM’s Chief Curator Rock Hushka, including eminent Northwest glass artists Sonja Blomdahl, Dale Chihuly, Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace, Dante Marioni, Paul Marioni, Richard Marquis, Benjamin Moore, William Morris, Charles Parriott, Maxi Powers, Ginny Ruffner, Cappy Thompson, Toots Zynsky, and many more.
The Benaroyas also collected national and international glass artists, often with an association to the influential Pilchuck Glass School, including César Baldaccini, Howard Ben Tré, Kyohei Fujita, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, Marvin Lipofsky, Raymond Martinez, Jay Musler, Seth Randal, Clifford Rainey, Julio Santos, Livio Seguso, Therman Statom, LinoTagliapietra, and Bertil Vallien, among others. Mrs. Benaroya’s personal passions include the international art deco glass by Daum and Lalique and fiber art by Olga de Omaral and Claire Zeisler.
Additionally, the Benaroya’s gift includes significant paintings by key Northwest artists such as Leo Adams, Guy Anderson, Deborah Butterfield, Kenneth Callahan, Joseph Goldberg, Morris Graves, Paul Horiuchi, Jeffry Mitchell, Mark Tobey, and George Tsutakawa. “We look forward to sharing the full breadth of this gift with our visitors,” added Hushka.
“My son Larry and I were very thoughtful in considering the best placement for the works of art that Jack and I collected. We approached TAM for many reasons; chief among them was the Museum’s focus on Northwest art. We believe that our collection fits beautifully with TAM’s holdings and mission. We also wanted to keep the collection together and in the Northwest,” said Mrs. Benaroya. “Jack especially was passionate about the studio glass movement and we were early supporters. Finding the right home for our works is a very personal matter. This choice reflects and honors Jack’s vision, and now sustains his legacy, to have these works on public view to inspire generations to come. It makes me very happy that he will be remembered in this way.”
This transformative gift advances TAM’s collection strategy of building a premier regional collection that tells the story of the Northwest artistic identity in all its richness and complexity. TAM also collects art from the broader Western region, with more than 300 works of western American art gifted by the Haub family along with $20 million in expansion and endowment funds in 2012.
The Benaroya’s gift enhances the Tacoma Museum District as a local and national draw for studio art glass lovers, with the Chihuly Bridge of Glass connecting TAM and the renowned Museum of Glass (MOG). MOG continues to shape and define the contemporary glass movement through work by artists in its hot shop. This work can be viewed by visitors onsite and all over the world through live streaming. MOG is also known for developing leading-edge traveling glass art exhibitions. “We are pleased to hear a major glass collection like the Benaroya’s is coming to Tacoma,” stated Debbie Lenk, Executive Director at MOG.
Underscoring the benefit of the gift within the community, Dale and Leslie Chihuly said, “Our dear friends Jack and Becky Benaroya have long inspired all of us with their generous and loving support of the arts in the region. They have also been devoted benefactors of the Pilchuck Glass School. We are delighted that, after decades of careful and passionate collecting, Becky and the family have decided to gift this important body of work to the Tacoma Art Museum where it can be enjoyed by the public for years to come.”
Additional Media Coverage
Download Tacoma Art Museum’s official press release here (May 3, 2018)
Image credits (in order of slideshow): Ginny Ruffner (American, born 1952), Anatomy of the Ear, circa 1986. Lampworked glass with pastel, 16 × 24 × 7 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis; Cappy Thompson (American, born 1952), Storyteller, 1992. Blown glass and enamel, 14 × 18 × 18 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis; Kenneth Callahan (American, 1905–1986), Untitled, circa 1960s. Oil on canvas, 40 × 59¾ inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis; Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941), Seaform Set, 1982–83. Blown glass, dimensions variable. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis; Paul Horiuchi (Japanese American, 1906–1999), Color Movement with Purpose, circa 1985–86. Collage on six panel screen. 71½ × 144 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis; Stanislav Libenský (Czech, 1921–2002); Jaroslava Brychtová (Czech, born 1924), Green Eye of the Pyramid III, 1993–94. Mold‑melted and cut glass, 33 × 40 × 8 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis.