The Philadelphia Museum of Art acquires Sachs Collection

A single acquisition has the power to change everything. This is the sentiment of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is now the very proud owner of one of the US’ leading private collections of contemporary art.
Assembled by Keith L. Sachs and his wife Katherine, this vividly conceived collection of 97 works spans from the 1950s to the present day, delivering a lengthy, forthright and distinct voice on a transformative epoch.
Its exclusivity among other similar collections is in its strong concentration of works by the post-abstract expressionist forerunner to pop art Jasper Johns and the equally abstract colour field painter Ellsworth Kelly.
Additionally, other unique traits that make it a singular collection are its focus on important British and German artists, such as the new darling of Hollywood Steve McQueen and the explorative painter Gerhard Richter.
Other influential artists from Europe and the US include Robert Gober, Katharina Fritsch, Georg Baselitz, Cy Twombly, Brice Marden, Gabriel Orozco, Joel Shapiro, Howard Hodgkin, Robert Ryman, Joseph Beuys, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Hamilton.
Timothy Rub, the museum’s George D. Widener director and chief executive officer, said that the Sachs collection will “reinforce and expand” the institution’s holdings of contemporary art, enabling it to deliver bigger and more original exhibitions and presentations of art from the past half century.
“It brings this institution into the top echelon among encyclopaedic museums that collect contemporary art,” he continued. “To find a comparable antecedent in terms of the potential impact of this gift for the Museum’s contemporary art collections, one undoubtedly would have to look back to the great collections donated to us by Albert E. Gallatin and Louise and Walter Arensberg in the early 1950s.”
The Sachs have a long and fruitful relationship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This goes back as far as the 1970s when Katherine first worked in its public relations department, later moving to the role of guide. Keith meanwhile has been a trustee since 1988 and serves as chair of its modern and contemporary art committee.
Explaining the history behind the collection, Keith said that it is the result of a process of discovery and engagement with art, one that has had a significant impact on their lives. He described the process as being “richly rewarding and increasingly important in our lives”.
Central to the way in which they have gone about acquiring works is the kinship they have felt with the artists, as well as the admiration they have had for each creative individual’s vision.
“As long as we have been collecting, we have admired and supported the serious commitment that the museum has made to the acquisition and display of the art of our time,” Keith said. “For these reasons and because we feel it is important to share what we value so much with the community, we have decided to entrust our collection to the museum’s care.
The collection will have a full-scale exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 2016.
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