Linda and Louis Tanner '55 met at an opening at the Museum of Modern Art in the fall of1966. Within a few months, they were married. Wedding gifts from artist-friends, including Claes Oldenberg, began what became a central passion of their life together: collecting art.
A consistent presence in the New York arts community from the mid-1960s onwards, Linda was friends with prominent gallerists Andre Emmerich and Leo Castelli, and together, the Tanners developed deep friendships with emerging and established artists of the day, growing much of their collection through personal gifts from well-known artists as well as purchasing works to support the careers of lesser-recognized artists. They have now promised their unique collection, which numbers in excess of 100 artworks, to the Bell Gallery with a preliminary gift occurring this year.
The works exhibited here are a highlight from this gift and reflect the breadth and depth of the Tanner Collection. Grounded in modernist art from the 1970s onward, the collection includes important works by major figures such as Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg; surprising detours, such as a Beverly Pepper “rust print;” powerful works by lesser-known modernists, such as Bram Bogart; and works by a younger generation of artists, represented here in paintings by David Ryan and Shirley Kaneda.
This gift broadens the Bell Gallery collection through the addition of works by Italian Arte Povera artists Michelangelo Pistoletto and Lucio Fontana, and other artists not formerly represented. It also adds depth. For example, a powerful three-dimensional print from Frank Stella’s Moby-Dick Dome series (1992) complements our collection of 68 early paintings, sculptures, and prints by Stella (dating from 1958 to 1975).
We extend our thanks to Linda and Louis Tanner for this gift, and we look forward to sharing it with the Brown community.