Starters: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection, an exhibition of forty-eight paintings, photographs, prints, and posters drawn from one of the most renowned corporate collections in the United States, opens on Saturday, September 14, 2013, at the Morris Museum of Art. The exhibition, which is highlighted by the work of numbers famous artists—including Andy Warhol, Helen Frankenthaler, Alfred Stieglitz, Berenice Abbott, Dorothea Lange, George Caleb Bingham, and Alphonse Mucha, among many others—remains on display though November 24, 2013.
Wells Fargo & Company, already renowned for its wide-ranging and richly varied art collection, more than doubled the size of its holdings when it acquired Wachovia Bank in 2008. Wachovia’s subsidiary, brokerage firm A. G. Edwards, had been an active collector since the mid-1960s, and it had developed practices that dovetailed neatly with Wells Fargo’s ambitions for its own collections. Since the inception of A.G. Edwards traveling exhibitions program in 1991, public institutions nationwide have presented exhibitions drawn from its holdings. Wells Fargo proudly continues that tradition.
Companies that collect art do so for several reasons—to challenge employees and to provide them with a congenial, interesting work environment; to support local or emerging artists; to support a particular type of art; to impress or entertain clients and customers; sometimes to promote a corporate image; and, finally, as an investment. Wells Fargo’s long-standing commitment to the arts is unusual. From the outset, it has consistently looked beyond corporate need to the needs of the public and has always shared its collections through exhibitions.
Corporate commitment to art has been shrinking steadily since the 1980s. Many companies—Reader’s Digest, CBS, IBM, Time Warner, for example—sold their collections when the economy was booming, while others (Arthur Andersen LLP, for example) liquidated collections during times of economic crisis. Not Wells Fargo. It has steadfastly sustained a focus on art and has overseen the remarkable growth of its collection through purchase and merger. Today, Wells Fargo maintains a curatorial office within the company that oversees the corporate collection and its traveling exhibition program.
The appearance of Starters: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection at the Morris Museum of Art is made possible by the generosity of Wells Fargo & Company and the particular support of the three hundred individuals who make up the local market team.
Wells Fargo customers receive FREE admission to the Morris Museum of Art with the presentation of a Wells Fargo debit or credit card during the length of the Starters exhibition (September 14–November 24, 2013).
Thursday, September 12, 6:00–8:30 p.m. Exhibition Preview Party: Starters: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection. Shelley Hagen, curator of the Wells Fargo Art Collection, discusses the work in the exhibition. Opening remarks by Susan Hunnicutt, Wells Fargo market president. Museum members, $10.00; nonmembers, $15.00. Includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and two drink tickets. RSVP to 706-724-7501.