March 01, 2002 News & Features » Cover Story

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Generous Moments in VMFA History 

1919

John Barton Payne, a Chicago lawyer, gives his art collection to the commonwealth of Virginia even though the state doesn't have an art museum.

1932

Payne donates $100,000 toward construction of a museum, and Gov. John Garland Pollard initiates additional fund-raising. The federal government contributes $66,000 from Depression-era public works programs. In 1933 construction begins. The Museum opens in 1935 on the Boulevard.

1947

Lillian Thomas Pratt of Stafford County, whose husband was a General Motors executive, donates her collection of Russian imperial decorative arts by Peter Carl Faberge to the Museum.

T. Catesby Jones' collection of modern art is bequeathed to the Museum.

1952

Adolph and Wilkins Williams give 42 paintings and a major trust fund, reportedly the largest gift to a Southern art museum up to that time.

1954

The Arthur and Margaret Glasgow art collection, with funds for additional purchases, is bequeathed to the Museum.

The Museum's theater wing is built through a gift from Paul Mellon's Old Dominion Foundation.

1970

Richmonders Sydney and Frances Lewis, founders of Best Products Co. Inc. catalog-showroom retail chain, establish a fund to purchase contemporary art.

Alisa Mellon Bruce leaves some 450 objects, many European decorative arts, to the Museum.

1971

The Lewises establish a fund for purchase of art nouveau.

1982

Paul Mellon of Upperville and the Lewises fund the West Wing. The 90,000-square-foot addition opens in 1985.

1983

The Mellon collection of major French impressionist and postimpressionist and British sporting-life paintings are given permanently to the Museum.

1988

Richmond trucking magnate Harwood Cochrane and his wife, Louise, establish a $19.7 endowment for the purchase of American art.

1993

HealthSouth Corp. gives two landmark Queen Anne-style buildings on Grove Avenue to the Museum for educational programs.

1997

Rita and Jerome Gans give their collection of silver to the Museum.

1999

Paul Mellon bequeaths additional French impressionist and British works.

2005

James and Frances McGlothlin bequeath their American art collection with endowment money to support it and a $10 million contribution to the Museum's capital campaign for its major expansion scheduled for completion in 2008. — Edwin Slipek Jr.



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