MCASD Receives Major Gift of Art

A private art collection amassed over more than 30 years is returning home to San Diego, bringing to the city masterpieces of minimalism and of German Expressionism. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) and The San Diego Museum of Art announced yesterday they are  the recipients of a major bequest valued at more than $40 million from the late Dr. Vance E. Kondon and his wife Elisabeth Giesberger.

Kondon was one of San Diego’s premier art collectors and an avid supporter of the city’s cultural scene. His collection ranged from figurative works from the first half of the 20th century to refined abstract pieces from 1950 forward.

Kondon served several terms on the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s Board of Trustees between 1971 and 1981, and his contemporary collection reflected the minimalist aesthetic that the Museum was presenting at that time, and for which the institution is still known.

MCASD received 30 important works of contemporary art from the 1950s to the early 1980s, including two large-scale white paintings by Robert Ryman, a signature multi-panel work by Brice Marden, and a fine minimalist canvas by Robert Mangold. The gift also includes a rare proto-pop Roy Lichtenstein canvas, important drawings by Franz Kline and Mark Tobey, and subtle abstractions by Piero Manzoni, Ad Dekkers, Christo, and Jules Olitski. Kondon’s interest in California art is conveyed with works by Craig Kauffman and Ron Davis. Other artists represented in the gift include Ben Akkerman, Arman, Jan Dibbets, Ans Hey, Ellsworth Kelly, Moshe Kupferman, Richard Serra, and Toon Verhoef.

“True museum collections are built upon this type of generous philanthropy,” said Hugh Davies, the David C. Copley director and CEO at MCASD. “As a past board member, Vance Kondon’s collection represents the sensibilities of the museum and its commitment to reductive abstraction. Simply receiving Robert Ryman’s canvas, Cable, would have been gift enough, but Vance Kondon went further by gifting 30 works that together reflect his legacy even as they expand upon the Museum’s own identity. We are truly honored to receive this incredible gift.”

Some of these works will be featured at both institutions: Iconic at the Museum of Contemporary Art this spring and a summer exhibition of German Expressionism at The San Diego Museum of Art.

Read the full press release.