INDIANAPOLIS May 27, 2019
The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields has received a notable gift of 131 modern and contemporary design objects from the collection of the late George R. Kravis II, a businessman, philanthropist and radio broadcasting pioneer from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Kravis became a well-known collector of modern and contemporary industrial design starting in the early 2000s, ultimately amassing one of the most significant collections in the United States. In 2013, he established the Kravis Design Center in Tulsa, which housed his collection of over 4,000 objects and supported scholarship and education initiatives focused on design. Kravis passed away in February 2018, and in honor of his philanthropic spirit and passion for education, several institutions were chosen to distribute objects to, from his collection, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.
For many years, the IMA Galleries have benefited from Kravis’ generosity. In 2011, Kravis loaned the museum 33 objects to display in its design and decorative arts galleries, including an array of Apple design products, and American streamlined radios and beverage services—many of which are currently on display in the Zink Decorative Arts gallery. All of these loans are included in Kravis’ gift to the museum.
Other notable works selected by IMA staff from the Kravis collection include an exceedingly rare lounge chair designed by Alexander Girard for Braniff Internationals Airways (1968); a Frank Lloyd Wright armchair designed for the Herman T. Mossberg House in South Bend, IN (1948); Mario Bellini’s experimental Teneride chair (1970); a Kodak Model no. 1A Gift Camera designed by Indiana native Walter Dorwin Teague (1930); a Charles and Ray Eames leg splint (1942); Egmont Arens’s iconic Streamliner meat slicer (1942); Belle Kogan’s Two-part Nesting vase (1953); a Tank lounge chair designed by Alvar Aalto (1937); a Florence Knoll lounge chair (1955); Hans Wegner’s PP512 folding chair (1949); and Shigeru Uchida’s Dear Morris clock (1989).
The introduction of these new gifts into the IMA Galleries has already begun. For example in Dining by Design: Silver 1925–2000, open in the Lilly House second floor galleries, four gifts from the Kravis collection are featured in the installation, including two celebrated art deco dinette tea services designed by Jean Theobald and Virginia Hamill. On June 22, more Kravis gifts—including the Uchida Dear Morris clock—will enter the Design Gallery for a focused display on Japanese Design.
“George R. Kravis II was a formidable figure in the field of design, and it was a pleasure to work with him through the years to improve our ability to showcase design for the public. George made regular visits to the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields and often mentioned the fact that his mother was originally from Muncie, IN. I think he felt comfortable here and enjoyed exploring the large galleries we have devoted to his favorite subject—Design,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Director and CEO. “Both Shelley Selim, associate curator of design and decorative arts, and I are extremely honored to have received such an important gift from his estate and can’t wait to share these great objects with the public.”
Newfields offers dynamic experiences with art and nature for guests of all ages. The 152-acre cultural campus features art galleries, lush gardens, a historic mansion, performance spaces, a nature preserve and sculpture park. From inspiring exhibitions in the Indianapolis Museum of Art Galleries, to concerts in The Toby, to a stroll through The Garden with a glass of cheer, guests are invited to interact with art and nature in exciting new ways. Newfields is home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, among the ten largest and oldest general art museums in the nation; the Lilly House, a National Historic Landmark; The Garden, featuring 40 acres of contemporary and historic gardens, a working greenhouse and an orchard; and The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, one of the largest art and nature parks in the country. The Newfields campus extends outside of Indianapolis with Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Ind.—one of the nation’s most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist architecture. For more information visit http://www.DiscoverNewfields.org.
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