"The Collecting Continues" showcases several major gifts that have shaped and further enhanced the museum's permanent collection over the decades. It begins with the Elizabeth Holmes Fisher Collection, founder of the museum and the first female member of USC's Board of Trustees and goes on to feature more recent gifts and donations.
Elizabeth Holmes Fisher began collecting art in 1928, with the hope of founding a museum with a fine collection that would provide a cultural base for the city of Los Angeles. "If Los Angeles is to build up her collection of art treasures," she said, "now is the time." The Fisher Gallery (renamed the USC Fisher Museum of Art in 2008) opened its doors to the public in 1939. Fisher's wish was that the students of USC have beautiful and important art to study and that this art be accessible to the public, while also mandating that the museum always be free of charge. Her dream was to have her collection act as a nucleus to attract other donations. And, in that she was successful, as this exhibition demonstrates.
Also on display will be another of the Fisher Museum's core collections donated by Armand Hammer and The Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer donated 48 works of art by Dutch, Flemish, German, and Italian masters of the 15th through 17th centuries to the Fisher Museum in 1958.
The Fisher Museum's current collecting emphasis will be highlighted with some of our most recent acquisitions: an important body of international contemporary artworks gifted by USC alumnus James Phillips and his wife Susan; a significant body of works by Latin-American artists from the estate of Dr. and Mrs. James L. Sheehy; a group of works by contemporary California artists donated by the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA); and a gift from the artist Paul Valadez, "El Interior, La Frontera, y Más Allá", an installation of 26 acrylic works in paper from the "A Paper Border" series, which explores the relationship the artist has with the border.
The exhibition "The Collecting Continues: 1939-2013" is an opportunity for the museum to publicly recognize the generosity of our donors, and to highlight the institution's past and present collecting history.