artists & participants
Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "We are delighted to present the collection assembled with a spirit of adventure and intelligence by Keith and Kathy Sachs over the course of more than four decades. They are not only thoughtful collectors, but also great Philadelphians who love this city and its cultural and educational institutions. To have such a fine collection come to the Museum as a gift is a rare and wonderful thing. It is also transformative, much like the important collections of modern art that came to us in the early 1950s from Albert E. Gallatin and Louise and Walter Arensberg. Keith and Kathy's promised gift to the Museum of more than 90 works, which we announced to the public in 2014, immensely strengthened our holdings of contemporary art."
Embracing the Contemporary presents a selection of about 100 works from the Sachs Collection, reflecting Keith and Kathy's engagement with individual artists and the development of their collecting over time. A number of artists with whom the couple developed meaningful ties over the years are presented in depth, including Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Brice Marden. Among the works by Johns are a recent suite of paintings entitled Five Postcards (2011), and Nines (2006), an assemblage featuring the late 1960s flagstone motif painted in red, yellow and blue, as well as Voice II (1982), a three-part, ink-on-plastic drawing. Other works in the collection complement the Museum's holdings of works by leading German artists such as Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, and Gerhard Richter.
The exhibition reflects the variety and range of interests that distinguish the Sachs collection. It includes, for example, a work on paper by the Pennsylvania-born Abstract Expressionist painter Franz Kline, Untitled (c. 1956), which was among the couple's first purchases after they married in 1969. Also on view is the earliest work to enter their collection, Portrait of Jean-Louis (1947–49) by Louise Bourgeois, and one of the most recent, Untitled (2000–13) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, as well as major works by Robert Gober, Richard Hamilton, Robert Ryman, and Terry Winters.
At the heart of the exhibition is Boy with Frog (2008) by Charles Ray. The oversized nude figure extends his arm and holds aloft a captured amphibian, regarding it with a mixture of fascination and bewilderment that can be considered a metaphor for discovery. Among the large-scale photographs in the Sachs Collection are exceptional works by Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Clifford Ross, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, and Jeff Wall. Important examples of video and film work by such celebrated figures as Francis Alÿs, Pierre Huyghe, and Steve McQueen will be presented. Also included are artist's portfolios, personal mementos, letters, photographs, and other items that document the history of the Sachs Collection.
Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, said: "The Sachs Collection contains works that reflect some of the most daring developments in contemporary art over the past few decades, and a vision that is deeply personal and grounded in Keith and Kathy's admiration for the artists whose work they collect. Their commitment to the work of living artists is what makes this collection so remarkable."