The Gallery of Art at Washington University in St. Louis has received a major gift from New York art collectors and patrons Ann Fertig Freedman and Robert L. Freedman.
Lo Sciocco Senza Paura (The Fearless Fool) (1984), by American artist Frank Stella, is a large-scale mixed-media relief measuring more than 10’x10’x2′. From Stella’s landmark Cones and Pillars series, the gallery’s new acquisition is constructed of etched magnesium, aluminum, fiberglass and canvas.
“We are deeply moved by Ann and Robert’s generosity,” said Mark S. Weil, Ph.D., the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts and director of the Gallery of Art. “This is an outstanding addition to our contemporary offerings. At the same time, it will allow students and faculty from across the university to study, on a daily basis, a key work by the pre-eminent abstractionist of our time.”
Lo Sciocco Senza Paura will be installed in the Gallery of Art’s main foyer by April 14, when Stella himself will visit the Hilltop Campus as keynote speaker for the groundbreaking of Washington University’s $56.8 million Sam Fox Arts Center.
Ann Fertig Freedman is president of Knoedler & Company,established in 1846, New York’s oldest and one of the country’s most prestigious art galleries. A 1971 graduate of Washington University’s School of Art, she began her career at the Andre Emmerich Gallery in New York before joining Knoedler in 1978 as director of the contemporary art department.
Robert L. Freedman is vice chairman of GVA Worldwide, a New York-based global real estate company, and a featured speaker in the real estate industry, appearing regularly on major venues such as MSNBC, CNBC and FOX, as well as in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Stella (b. 1936) is one of the world’s most prominent contemporary artists. In the late 1950s, his rigorously geometric Black paintings established the basis for Minimalism. In the 1960s, he began incorporating shaped canvases into the similarly monochromatic Aluminum and Copper series and, in the 1970s and ’80s, moved from low-relief collage to increasingly colorful high-relief constructions.
The freely painted Cones and Pillars series, from 1984, was inspired by Italo Calvino’s book Italian Folktales but features shapes and motifs first explored in Stella’s Had Gadya (1982-1984) print series, which the artist based on El Lissitzky’s 1918-19 paintings of the same title.
The Washington University Gallery of Art is the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River, founded in 1881 as part of the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts. Today it houses some 3,000 objects, including a strong modern collection established in the mid-1940s, by famed art historian H.W. Janson, author of the influential textbook History of Art.
The Gallery of Art is located in Steinberg Hall, near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays; and noon to 4:30 p.m. weekends. (The Gallery of Art is closed Mondays.) Admission is free. For more information, call (314) 935-4523.