Los Angeles Confidential has a feature on “The Ladies of LACMA.” That would be Lynda Resnick, Jane Nathanson, and Ann Colgin. The interview, by Degen Pener, drops several hints about future gifts to LACMA. In April 2015 the museum is to celebrate its 50th anniversary with an exhibition of 50 art gifts (promised, mainly). That will include works from the conditional bequest of Jerry Perenchio and a lot more besides. Pener asks the three collectors what they’re planning to give and gets a mix of specifics and coyness.
On the specific side, one of the gifts is already on view. Ann Colgin and Joe Wender have promised Mary Weatherford’s love forever (cave) for MW, 2012 (top), a painting in LACMA’s current “Variations: Conversations In and Around Abstract Painting.” It will become the museum’s first work by the California-native artist.
Jane Nathanson says that she and husband Marc “will be donating most of our art to LACMA and we are giving some for the 50th anniversary.” This would be a major win. Jane had been on MOCA’s board and is now on LACMA’s, occasioning much speculation. The Nathanson collection is focused on the pop movement.
“One of the pieces that will be going to LACMA,” says Nathanson, “is a very early Double Marilyn by Andy Warhol.” Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962—during the Ferus Gallery’s show of Warhol Soup Cans. Coincidentally Warhol had just started doing photo-silk screen paintings of Troy Donahue and Warren Beatty. He switched his production to Monroe and did over 20 paintings of her in the following months. All appropriated a publicity still from the 1953 film Niagara.
The only Double Marilyn I found in a quick web search is a 1962 painting sold at Christie’s London in 2008 (right). It’s described as “one of the early images on this theme,” but I can’t say whether it’s the Nathanson one. LACMA has two Soup Cans and a set of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Boxes, but no Marilyn.
Lynda Resnick, to Pener: “I just told Michael [Govan] to come over and pick what he wanted and he did, and then I thought, well, there’s no sculpture represented. So then I said, ‘Michael, pick a piece of sculpture.’ Of course he picked the single-most important thing we have, which is what he should have done and we are thrilled.”
In the past Resnick has spoken of dividing her and husband Stewart’s collection among the Philadelphia Museum of Art, LACMA, and the Getty. If Govan got first dibs, that would be another coup. A highlight of the 2010 LACMA exhibition, “Eye for the Sensual,” was Elizabeth Louise Vigée Lebrun’s Portrait of Marie Antoinette. For what it’s worth, Los Angeles Confidential has a photo of the three art patrons, chez Resnick, with Marie Antoinette as backdrop.
The Resnicks’ tastes have lately moved beyond Rococo. They have added a Hans Memling Christ Blessing (lent to the Huntington for a 2013 show). Jesus or Marie Antoinette? Either would be a fantastic addition to LACMA’s European painting collection.
As to sculptures, my guess for ”the single most important thing” is Houdon’s The Kiss.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that “even Eli Broad doesn’t have a [Warhol] Marilyn.” In fact the Eli and Edythe L. Broad collection contains a 1962 Two Marilyns.