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Hauser & Wirth Announce Independent Not For Profit Art Institute

Franz Kline, 'Wanamaker Block,' 1955. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Richard Brown Baker, B.A. 1935. © 2018 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Iwan Wirth, and Manuela Wirth, the Co-Founders of Hauser & Wirth, along with Marc Payot have announced the establishment of Hauser & Wirth Institute, an independent, non-profit private operating foundation dedicated to supporting art historical scholarship and to preserving and advancing the legacies of modern and contemporary artists through enabling greater public access to their archives for research.

To pursue its mission, the Institute will create a study centre for the preservation, expedient cataloguing, and digitisation of primary research materials for direct study and free online public access to these resources. It will seek to nurture innovation and substance in art historical research through the funding of fellowships in partnership with artists’ estates, foundations, and educational institutions. Another core activity of the Institute will be the production of online catalogues raisonnés and print publications that advance the highest academic standards to strengthen the field of modern and contemporary art history. The organisation will also present public programs, including exhibitions of archival material and symposia that engage scholars, archivists, artists, collectors, curators, estate managers, gallerists, and the general public in dialogues about the obligations and opportunities inherent in archive stewardship.

The activities of Hauser & Wirth Institute will include both projects connected with artists represented by Hauser & Wirth and artists who are unaffiliated with the gallery.

The Institute is under the leadership of Executive Director Jennifer Gross, formerly Chief Curator and Deputy Director of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Previous to her work at deCordova, Gross served as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut; Curator of Contemporary Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts; and Founding Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine.

“The work of Hauser & Wirth Institute is a natural extension of our gallery’s support of living artists and the noteworthy estates and foundations we have represented for over 25 years,” Iwan Wirth said. “The art world has accelerated and globalised its exhibition and publishing activities so dramatically. In creating the Institute, we hope to make resources available to support similar growth in the areas of art historical research and the sharing of essential knowledge that fuel a richer understanding of art, artists, and the creative processes central to the history of culture for future generations. We are honoured to have the opportunity to create an organisation to do this work, and so grateful to our Advisors for joining in the effort.”

Jennifer Gross commented, “We are thrilled to launch this unique and ambitious initiative at a time when there are fewer and fewer resources available to afford scholars the time and access needed for primary document research. It is a great privilege to care for and process archival materials. Even as the art world has become interested in these resources, it is critical to support public conversation about best stewardship and most effective and appropriate practices and partnerships. Technology should be enabling the sharing of intellectual and visual resources, but the speed at which the art world is operating now can preclude adequate attention to this work. We aim to broaden the art historical conversation to reflect the diversity of aesthetic and cultural values at hand today.”

Hauser & Wirth Institute will produce an online catalogue raisonné of Franz Kline Paintings, 1950–1962, in cooperation with the Estate of Franz Kline. The Institute has provided funding to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, to catalogue and digitise the Franz Kline archive to realise this project and enable for the first time unrestricted online access to this material at Archives of American Art for educational purposes.

These two initiatives are intended to enrich scholarship on Franz Kline and increase public knowledge of his work and contributions to art history. Franz Kline Paintings, 1950–1962 will provide researchers and the public free and open access to this definitive resource on Kline’s paintings from a watershed period in the career of this eminent American abstractionist.

Franz Kline Paintings, 1950–1962 is being developed under the direction of Kline scholar Robert Mattison, Marshall R. Metzger Professor of Art History and Chair of the Department of Art at Lafayette College. Mattison’s scholarship on American modernism has included such artists as Arshile Gorky, Grace Hartigan, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, and Theodoros Stamos. Dr Mattison earned PhD and MFA degrees from Princeton University, an MA from Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, and a BA from Middlebury College.

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