Steinberg Hall to be rededicated with celebration

The Steinberg Hall of Art and Archaeology, a gift from Etta Eiseman Steinberg in memory of her husband, Mark C. Steinberg, formally opened its doors May 15, 1960, with a gala reception that celebrated the University as a center of arts education.

Having undergone a renovation that completes the new facilities uniting the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Steinberg Hall once again will take the spotlight at a rededication celebration Monday, Feb. 23.

Photo by Herb Weitman

In a photo from the 1960-61 academic year, Etta Eiseman Steinberg (left) and daughter Florence Steinberg Weil attend the opening of an exhibition of works by Alexander Calder in Steinberg Hall.

The event, sponsored by the Sam Fox School and the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences, will take place at 4 p.m. in Steinberg Auditorium, which will be renamed for philanthropist and visionary Etta Steinberg, who died in 1974.

World-renowned contemporary artist Fred Tomaselli, whose dazzling paintings interweave images from medical texts, catalogues, field guides, flora and fauna, will discuss his work as part of the program.

Joining Tomaselli will be WUSTL alumnus James Cohan, owner of the James Cohan Gallery in New York and Shanghai. Tomaselli and Cohen will discuss the collaborative relationship between artist and gallery owner.

Mark C. Steinberg’s career took him from office boy in the St. Louis brokerage firm of Altheimer & Rawlings to founder of Mark C. Steinberg & Co., a brokerage firm he headed until his death in 1951.

The daughter of Aurelia Stix and David Eiseman, an owner and president of Rice-Stix Dry Goods Co. in St. Louis, Etta Steinberg was an inspirational visionary. Her devotion to St. Louis and WUSTL enriched many lives through the educational, recreational and health-care-related projects she so ardently supported.

Through the Mark C. Steinberg Charitable Trust and personal gifts, Etta Steinberg funded the Mark C. Steinberg Memorial Skating Rink in Forest Park (1957), the Mark C. Steinberg Professorship in Art History at WUSTL (1963) and the Mark C. Steinberg Memorial Hospital (1967), now a part of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. In recognition of her service, the University awarded Etta Steinberg the honorary degree of doctor of humanities in 1967.

“Together, the Steinbergs have made significant, lasting contributions to Washington University and to the city of St. Louis,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “Their gifts of important works of art helped to develop and shape the University’s collection, and their remarkable generosity provided the endowed funds that strengthen University academic programs today.

“The rededication ceremony also will honor the exemplary leadership and contributions of Mark S. Weil, Ph.D., the E. Des-mond Lee Professor Emeritus, Washington University alumnus and the grandson of Etta Steinberg,” Wrighton said.

“Mark’s brother, John D. Weil, has served as a trustee of Washington University since 2003. Their father, Richard K. Weil, served as a trustee from 1966-1974 and as emeritus trustee until his death in 1996. The legacy of these families continues to guide and inspire us,” Wrighton said.

Steinberg Hall was designed by Fumihiko Maki, principal of Maki & Associates in Tokyo, considered to be among the world’s premier architects. Steinberg Hall was Maki’s first commissioned building, designed in the late 1950s during his tenure as an associate professor in the School of Architecture.

Upon its completion, Steinberg Hall housed the Washington University Gallery of Art, the Department of Art History & Archaeology, the Art and Architecture library, classrooms and an auditorium.

During the 2006-07 academic year, Steinberg Hall was renovated and outfitted with new art and architecture studios as well as a refurbished auditorium. In fall 2006, the Gallery of Art moved into the new Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, as did the Kenneth and Nancy Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library and the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences, which was supported by major gifts made by Etta Steinberg.

Steinberg Hall is home to the College of Architecture, the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design and the College and Graduate School of Art. As one of five buildings that form the Sam Fox School facilities, Steinberg Hall continues its early charter of serving as a collaborative center for art and design education. In addition, it houses a career center, cafe and exhibition space.

Mark C. and Etta Steinberg’s daughter Florence and her husband, Richard K. Weil, significantly impacted the University’s art collection through their gifts of works by postwar European art and modern American painters such as Sam Francis and Robert Rauschenberg.

The Weils’ four children have continued their parents’ legacy by serving the University in important ways. Mark S. Weil, who earned an undergraduate degree in art history and archaeology in 1961, has been associated with the University for more than 50 years. He joined the Department of Art History & Archaeology in 1968, and, since then, has taught generations of students, including James Cohan.

Mark Weil is an expert in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture, and art connoisseurship. He chaired the department for 10 years and served as director of both the Kemper Art Museum and the Sam Fox Arts Center before retiring as the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts in 2005.

Mark Weil, Anabeth and John D. Weil, Josephine and Richard K. Weil Jr., and Paula Weil also contributed to the Florence Steinberg Weil Sculpture Plaza, located to the north of Steinberg Hall. Anabeth also chairs the Kemper Art Museum’s membership advisory committee.

“The Steinbergs were passionate and generous supporters of the arts and the University. We are all grateful for the families’ continued generosity and active involvement with the school,” said Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts.

“Steinberg Hall is a thriving environment for the study of the visual arts, architecture, art history and archaeology. Having distinguished guests Fred Tomaselli and James Cohan honors the legacy of the Steinberg family and underscores the school’s mission of interdisciplinary collaboration.”

A fourth generation of the Steinberg family has continued the University connection. Lisa Heffernan Weil (Mark’s daughter-in-law) earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in history in 1992, and Gabriel Weil (Richard and Josephine’s son) is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences.

“The Steinberg-Weil family has played an important role in making St. Louis a vital and interesting community,” said Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth.

“Washington University has especially benefited. It is my privilege to continue to know and work with the grandchildren of Mark and Etta Steinberg and their great spouses. We can all be grateful for this family,” Danforth said.

A reception will follow at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Please R.S.V.P. to Sylvia Stoll at 935-7382 or