As the Wexner Center for the Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary, the family that helped create a world-renowned museum and laboratory for the arts will be sharing its own collection of masterpieces.
“Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection,” will be on view Sept. 21 through Dec. 31. On view: the works of Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Jean Dubuffet, among other significant 20th century artists that are part of Leslie and Abigail Wexner’s personal collection.
“Abigail and I are happy to share the collection that we have the privilege and pleasure to live with every day. We are so grateful to the Columbus community for its generous support of the center over 25 years.”—Leslie Wexner, founder and chairman of Limited Brands (now L Brands)
“Presenting the exquisitely focused Wexner family collection allows us to offer audiences — especially university students and scholars — an unparalleled look at some of the pioneering artists whose work in the first half of the 20th century transformed the cultural landscape of their time, and continues to resonate in our own,” says Sherri Geldin, director of the Wexner Center. “We are so grateful to Leslie and Abigail Wexner for providing this singular opportunity to illuminate the creative continuum between early 20th-century masters and contemporary artistic practice.”
Nude in a Black Armchair (Pablo Picasso, 1932) will be featured in "Transfigurations." The portrait is the first in a series featuring Picasso's mistress, Marie-Therese Walter.
Wexner began collecting art in the mid-1970s, focusing on modern artists such as Franz Kline, Mark Rothko and Willem deKooning. In 1986, he purchased a significant work by Picasso and focused more keenly on modern masters.
Wexner, founder and chairman of Limited Brands (now L Brands), gave a generous gift to his alma mater that provided for the building of the Wexner Center in 1989. The gift was made in memory of his father, Harry Wexner.
The center is Ohio State’s international research lab for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art; it has served as a national model for universities pursuing more cross-disciplinary arts programming. Since the Wexner Center's inception, artist residencies and commissions have been signature components of its programs in the visual, performing and media arts.
Wexner has continued to be a major benefactor to the center and chairs its board of trustees, now composed of 28 civic, corporate and cultural leaders from Columbus and beyond.
“This is the ideal moment to celebrate the profound and continuing impact of the Wexner Center, a multidisciplinary laboratory for new ideas, creativity, and freedom of expression purposefully situated at the gateway of The Ohio State University — a great land grant institution and my alma mater,” says Wexner. “Abigail and I are happy to share the collection that we have the privilege and pleasure to live with every day. We are so grateful to the Columbus community for its generous support of the center over 25 years.”