artists & participants
Best Friends features portraits of Sydney and Frances Lewis by many of the top artists they collected, including Andy Warhol, Chuck Close and Alex Katz. Best Friends also honors the Lewises’ major contributions to VMFA on the eve of the 20th anniversary of their gift to the museum and the building of the West Wing. (The late Sydney Lewis was a VMFA trustee for many years. Frances Lewis is a VMFA trustee.)
Inspired by their encounters with Warhol, the Lewises became interested in contemporary art in the early 1960s and they soon befriended many of the artists whose works they acquired. Through their national company, Best Products, they built an additional contemporary collection, often exchanging household appliances and other merchandise for works of art.
In 1985, the Lewises gave their private collection to VMFA and helped construct a new wing to house it. Their generosity helped transform VMFA into one of the top museums in the United States.
The Lewis portraits have never before been shown together in public. While united by a single subject, they represent a broad spectrum of media and styles. A selection of around 25 paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs will be on view, including works of Photorealism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art, and West Coast Funk. Some of the other artists represented are Robert Arneson, Jack Beal, Roy DeForest and Robert Morris.
By showing portraits of the Richmond couple well known for embracing adventurous new art, Best Friends also recognizes the Lewises' major contributions to VMFA on the eve of the 20th anniversary of their gift to the museum and the building of the West Wing.
Best Friends: Portraits of Sydney and Frances Lewis
Werke von Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Alex Katz, u.a.