Congratulating the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musa Mayer and The Guston Foundation on Extraordinary Donation and Commitment to the Artist’s Legacy
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced a transformative promised gift of 220 works by Philip Guston (1913 – 1980) from the personal collection of Musa Mayer, the artist’s daughter and a close collaborator of Hauser & Wirth in shaping and preserving this incredible artist’s legacy. Consisting of 96 paintings and 124 drawings—the earliest created in 1930 and the latest in 1980—this collection represents the full arc of Guston’s career. This gift will position The Met as the largest repository of works by the iconic American painter and reaffirm Guston’s undisputed place in art history.
This notable collection is comprised of many consequential and foundational works, the majority created during the last three decades of Guston’s life, when he was especially innovative and prolific. Highlights of the promised gift include: ‘Mother and Child’ (c. 1930), ‘Untitled’ (1958), ‘The Three’ (1962), ‘The Studio’ (1969), ‘Pantheon’ (1973), ‘Pittore’ (1973), ‘Both’ (1976), ‘Floor’ (1976), ‘Yellow Light’ (1976), ‘Aegean II’ (1977), ‘Sleeping’ (1977), ‘The Line’ (1978), and ‘Flame’ (1979).
‘That The Met has agreed to permanently house and display Philip Guston’s work in the city where he lived and worked is a deeply moving commitment to his legacy.’—Musa Mayer
Philip Guston, Mother and Child, c. 1930 © The Estate of Philip Guston. Photo: Genevieve Hanson
Philip Guston, The Studio, 1969 © The Estate of Philip Guston. Photo: Genevieve Hansonntheon, 1973 © The Estate of Philip Guston. Photo: Genevieve Hanson
In addition, the museum will receive a major gift of $10 million from Musa and Thomas Mayer which will go towards the establishment of The Philip Guston Endowment Fund, which will be utilized to support initiatives related to the collection, advance scholarship regarding Guston, and further the artist’s legacy.
‘This truly extraordinary gift from Musa Mayer marks a major moment in the history of The Met,’ says Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met. ‘Philip Guston is one of the most consequential artists of the 20th Century, whose restless experimentalism has inspired generations of artists. Through this gift, The Met becomes the leading center for the study of his oeuvre and its lasting impact. We are tremendously grateful to Musa for bestowing the great honor and responsibility of serving as the primary caretaker of her father’s legacy going forward. Musa Mayer has been an extraordinary custodian of Philip Guston’s work for the last four decades and is one of the most sensitive writers and historians of his oeuvre. Her deep understanding and profound philanthropy are shining examples of extraordinary artistic and institutional support.’
Musa and Philip Guston, c. 1946 © The Estate of Philip Guston. Photo: H. W. Janson
Philip Guston with ‘The Studio,’ 1969 © The Estate of Philip Guston. Photo: Frank Lloyd
‘For over four decades now, this personal collection of my father’s paintings and drawings has served—and continues to serve—as a crucial source for exhibition loans,’ said Musa Mayer. ‘That The Met—this amazing museum of world art—has agreed to permanently house and display Philip Guston’s work in the city where he lived and worked is a deeply moving commitment to his legacy. My father was passionate about art and artists of the past. His influences spanned centuries. Yet his paintings resonate with artists working today. So, it’s immensely gratifying to know that his best works will find a permanent home in the company of the masters he so loved.’
Mayer established The Guston Foundation in 2013 to share her father’s work and further his legacy. Originally trained as a mental health counselor, Mayer became recognized as a patient and research advocate for those living with metastatic breast cancer. While she was a student at Columbia University pursuing an MFA in writing, she published her first book, ‘Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston’ (1988). In addition to curating exhibitions, she has authored several more books and catalogues on Guston in recent years. Hauser & Wirth is honored to work alongside Mayer and The Estate of Philip Guston to help elucidate the work and life of this truly remarkable artist through its exhibitions and publications. Mayer’s gift is undoubtedly the most substantial measure of cultural philanthropy the gallery has witnessed in its 30-year history, and testifies to Guston’s standing in art history.
A selection of works from Musa Mayer’s remarkable gift will be on view in a special installation at The Met opening 27 May 2023. The display, which will focus on the artist’s deeply philosophical approach to the nature of artistic identity and the aesthetic possibilities of painting, will be organized by Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art in The Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Hauser & Wirth extends congratulations to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musa Mayer and The Guston Foundation on this extraordinary donation and legacy.
Full news release can be found on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.