Philadelphia Museum of Art given 97 contemporary works

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has just received a trove of new art, enhancing the august institution’s contemporary collection.

Longtime museum trustees Keith and Katherine Sachs have donated 97 works – nearly their entire collection – including recent pieces by Jasper Johns, an early work by Ellsworth Kelly, and a piece by Joseph Beuys.


A few pieces are on display now, including Johns’ “Postcards,” which had never been seen publicly before.

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The museum has had strong 20th century works by a few select artists. This donation deepens the contemporary holdings in certain existing areas (Johns, Cy Twombly, Kelly), and broadens the collection into new territory.

“Many artists whose works we are receiving were not represented in the collection,” said contemporary art curator Carlos Basualdo. “The Sachs have very strong holdings in video art. Now we can say we have a substantial collection of video art. Same thing with outdoor sculptures and large-scale photography — with many artists, we had one work, and, now with the Sachs’ donation, we have a substantial group.”

The Sachs have made singular gifts and promised purchases for the museum in the past. They have had a long and close association with the museum; as such, the two collections have developed almost in parallel. Basualdo says the pair are a strategic match.

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