Kultur

The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Anderson Collection Building Exterior From the South
Anderson Collection Building Exterior From the South. Photo © Tim Griffith. Used with blanket permission granted at http://anderson.stanford.edu/news/media-kit/
Written by Tony Lima

We celebrated New Year’s Day 2015 with a visit to Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center. We were especially interested in the newly-opened Anderson Collection at Stanford University. And we were not disappointed. The collection is housed in a new building designed specifically to show the works in the best light possible — literally and figuratively. (The photo above shows the building viewed from the second floor of the Cantor Arts Center next door. We’ll have more to say about that apparent pile of rust later.) We commend the team from ennead architects as well as the various construction firms for doing such an outstanding job. (Click here for the complete list.)

The Collection

The collection is spectacular. With 121 pieces, there is enough to occupy the eyes and mind for an afternoon. The Anderson family’s preference runs to large canvas (and non-canvas) works, mostly produced since 1940. And the list of artists runs the gamut from the famous (Richard Diebenkorn) through the infamous (Jackson Pollack) to lesser-known contributors such as Joan Mitchell and Ellsworth Kelly. But regardless of the degree of fame, each and every one of these works merits attention. The Andersons clearly bought what they liked — and they liked many different styles.

Diebenkorn "Berkeley No. 26," 1964 The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley No. 26, 1954, oil on canvas. Gift of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence. © The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. Used with blanket permission granted at http://anderson.stanford.edu/news/media-kit/

We were especially taken by Charles Arnoldi’s “Untitled” 1981 acrylic on tree branches. (Images used under fair use and derivative works notice available by clicking here.)

Arnoldi, "Untitled," 1981 The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Charles Arnoldi, “Untitled” 1981 acrylic on tree branches. Copyright © 1981 Charles Arnoldi. Used under fair use and derivative works notice at the end of this article.

 

Detail, Arnoldi, "Untitled," 1981 The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Detail, Charles Arnoldi, “Untitled” 1981 acrylic on tree branches. Copyright © 1981 Charles Arnoldi. Used under fair use and derivative works notice at the end of this article.

The Gallery

The main galleries are on the second floor. They are organized somewhat whimsically as Bay Area Abstraction, Bay Area Figuration, California Light & Space, Color Field Painting, Contemporary Painting, Funk, Hard-Edge Painting, New York School, and Post-Minimalism.

Approaching the building, you’ll see this:

Exterior With William Tucker Scuplture The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Building Exterior with sculpture: William Tucker, “Fear,” 1981. Photo © Tim Griffith. Used with blanket permission granted at http://anderson.stanford.edu/news/media-kit/.

Most of the artwork is on the second floor, clearing most of the trees and surrounding buildings to improve the natural light.

Interior Staircase The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Interior Staircase. Copyright 2015 LosAltosPolitico.com.

These are large works. The galleries have been designed to give visitors plenty of room for perspective, as well as spacing between the pieces.

Gallery Interior The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Gallery Interior. Photo © Henrik Kam. Used with blanket permission granted at http://anderson.stanford.edu/news/media-kit/

From Cantor to Anderson

Unfortunately, we took a bit too long getting this review ready.  The massive Richard Serra sculpture Sequence (2006) is now closed, being prepared for its upcoming move 30 miles north to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (We are long-time SFMOMA members and look forward to visiting this work in its new location sometime in 2016.) This is actually a maze that we explored. The gallery below will give you some idea of the scale and scope of this piece. (This work is copyright © 2006 by Richard Serra. The photos are copyright 2015 LosAltosPolitico.com.  Images used under fair use and derivative works notice available by clicking here.)

The Andersons

The Anderson family has an interesting history and a fascinating connection to Stanford. Harry Anderson founded Saga Foods in New Jersey. He soon moved to Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. (This was well before that street became famous for venture capital and other tech firms.) In November, 2014 Vanity Fair profiled the family in an article titled “A Dorm-Food Fortune Has Funded the Best New Museum in Silicon Valley.”

Harry “Hunk” Anderson, his wife Mary Margaret (“Moo”) Anderson and their daughter Mary Patricia (“Putter”) Anderson Pence donated the collection to Stanford. Here they are, along with former Stanford provost John Etchemendy, at the groundbreaking.

Groundbreaking for the Anderson Collection Building The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson, Provost John Etchemendy, Harry “Hunk” Anderson and Mary Patricia “Putter” Anderson Pence at the groundbreaking for the Anderson Collection at Stanford University (2012). Photo by Linda Cicero. Used with blanket permission granted at http://anderson.stanford.edu/news/media-kit/

You might think that their home must have been pretty big to house this massive collection. Actually, not. Here’s a photo of the family in their home.

 

The Anderson Family in Their Studio The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson, Provost John Etchemendy, Harry “Hunk” Anderson and Mary Patricia “Putter” Anderson Pence at the groundbreaking for the Anderson Collection at Stanford University (2012). Photo by Linda Cicero. Used with blanket permission granted at http://anderson.stanford.edu/news/media-kit/

When You Visit

Parking can be tricky at Stanford, but is usually free Saturdays, Sundays, and after 5 pm weekdays.  Otherwise, park in one of the public lots and pay the parking fee.  If you’re not familiar with the Stanford campus, get a good map and plan your route.  Stanford began as Leland and Jane Stanford’s farm.  In some respects, the road layout still follows the original cowpaths.

General information for first-time or infrequent visitors is here.  A pdf map of the campus is here. A better (searchable) map is available here (with the Cantor Arts Center highlighted).  The museum’s hours, driving directions, parking, and other valuable information is here.

Conclusion

If you’re visiting the greater Palo Alto area, a great way to spend the day is visits to the Cantor Gallery and the Anderson Collection.  Highly recommended.

Copyright Notices

Unless otherwise noted, photos on this page are the original work of LosAltosPolitico.com.  Click here for a complete description of the copyright laws and how they are applied in this article.

 

About the author

Tony Lima

Tony Lima is an economist by trade and blogger extraordinaire who tends several of his own blogs on politics, economics and wine. We are pleased to have him as a lifestyle contributor at Los Altos Politico.

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