Enfilade

Raysor Print Collection Acquired by Richmond’s VMFA

Posted in exhibitions, resources by Editor on May 4, 2011

This lovely show that just closed at the VMFA provided a tantalizing glimpse of a major new print collection recently donated to the museum. With a $150 million construction project completed last spring (a glowing review from Architectural Record is available here), the VMFA is now in the process of developing a first-rate study room for works on paper. Within the next year or so, the entirety of the Raysor Collection of 10,000 works should be relocated to its new home and the print room finished. Stay tuned. For anyone remotely near the museum, know that there is an outstanding new collection of prints in your area. Incidentally, I feel quite fortunate to have attended the big celebration gala at the beginning of last month(!), and I’m thrilled at the promise of the Raysor Collection.  -CH

Art A Celebration of Print: 500 Years of Graphic Art
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 29 January — 22 May 2011

Curated by Mitchell Merling

This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary gift of approximately 10,000 prints from the collection of collector, connoisseur, and scholar Frank Raysor, who grew up in Richmond. Over the past 35 years Raysor has amassed a collection which covers the history of printmaking, as seen in this exhibition, and which also contains special deep holdings in artists such as Charles Meryon, Félix Bracquemond, Seymour Haden and Wenceslaus Hollar. The collection will increase by one third the total number of objects in VMFA’s collection.

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Press release from the museum:

The Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s Collectors’ Circle named Richmond-raised Frank Raysor ‘Collector of the Year’ at a gala on Saturday, 2 April 2011. During the evening’s celebration, VMFA Director Alex Nyerges announced Raysor’s plans to bequeath more than $3 million to the museum. Raysor already has promised VMFA a gift of 10,000 prints that he has amassed throughout the past 35 years. In recognition of this unprecedented gift, the museum’s previous library is being named the “Frank Raysor Center for the Study of Works on Paper.” The center will house more than 15,000 works on paper and will provide the space and resources needed for the study of the history of western print-making, among other subjects. The study center will open after a complete renovation and refurbishment of the existing space. The gifted prints cover the history of print-making, spanning the 15th century to present day, and are by both European and American artists. The works will increase the museum’s total number of objects by one-third.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ relationship with Frank Raysor dates back to his childhood visits,” Nyerges said. “In the past we have benefitted from a number of antiquities, which he donated in the early 1990’s. His rich and fascinating collection of prints is a gift for all Virginians.”

As Collector of the Year, Raysor joins a group of distinguished donors and museum supporters. Past recipients include: Linda H. Kaufman, Jane Joel Knox, Mrs. Nelson L. St. Clair, Jr., Robert and Nancy Nooter, Paul Mellon, Jerome and Rita Gans, Arnold L. Lehman and Nelson A. Rockefeller.

Raysor grew up in Richmond, attending Thomas Jefferson High School, before going on to Duke University and Harvard Business School. He has loaned works from his collection to special exhibitions at the Albuquerque Museum, the Yale Center for British Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. In 1982, Raysor guest-curated a small exhibition at VMFA of 18th-century prints with classical subjects drawn from his collection in conjunction with the museum’s internationally important exhibition, Vases from Magna Graecia. In addition to his collecting, Raysor has made important contributions to print scholarship, including his collaboration on the catalogue raisonné of the works of Charles Meryon.