Works by leading artists debut at Indianapolis museum


Indianapolis museum

Alex Katz (American, b. 1927), ‘Night: William Dunas Dance 4 / Pamela,’ colored ink on cream wove Arches paper, lithograph, 25 × 31-3/8 in. (sheet). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Gift of Joan and Walter Wolf, 2016.341.2 © Alex Katz / Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

INDIANAPOLIS – Two of the largest gifts of modern and contemporary art in the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields’ history will debuts in the new exhibition “Collecting Contemporaries: Recent Acquisitions from the Koch and Wolf Collections,” on Friday, May 4.

Longtime supporters Kay Koch and Joan and Walter Wolf each generously donated their impressive collections to the IMA to ensure that works on paper by many of the most influential artists in America, including Jasper Johns, Robert Longo, Alex Katz, Sol LeWitt, Judy Pfaff, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol would be available to our community for generations to come.

Koch and the Wolf’s hope their passion for collecting works of art will inspire and motivate new generations and audiences to collect works of their own.

“It is OK to start small. When you’re in high school you may start collecting by hanging posters on your wall of your various idols, and then as you get older your interests evolve,” said Kay Koch. “Find something that interests you and concentrate on growing that collection.”

Koch was encouraged to begin collecting art by her mentor, Norbert Neuss, when she first moved to Indianapolis to work at Eli Lilly & Co. The first work she ever purchased was at the Penrod Arts Fair. “I wasn’t sure if I should get it or not, but Norbert told me ‘if you like it, buy it,’” Koch said. “So I went back and bought it.”

Koch’s commitment to collecting deepened following her marriage to Bryan Molloy in 1971. Koch and Molloy were captivated by the leading artists of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. The bold and bright works by these artists captured their imagination. Koch and her late husband always wanted to donate their collection to a museum so the works of art would be accessible to a large audience.

Indianapolis museum

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997), ‘Reflections on Brushstrokes,’ 1990, color lithograph, screenprint, and woodblock print with collage on white paper, 50-1/2 × 65 in. (image) 57-1/8 × 71 in. (sheet). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Gift of Kay Koch in memory of Bryan B. Molloy, 2016.97 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Walter Wolf, who collected prints extensively and exclusively, shared that his passion was inspired by his grandfather who was a collector of Old Master prints. Wolf hopes that others too will find inspiration in the activity of collecting.

“There is an essential pleasure in knowing you own a certain piece,” Wolf said. “I would encourage everyone to start collecting.”

To share their passion and serve as inspiration, the Wolfs decided to give their collection to the IMA.  “I hope in this setting, the public will learn how to look at art, how to compare pieces, and how to look for particular strengths,” Mr. Wolf says. “In this exhibition, guests will be able to compare artists and see what each one did well.”

Docent-led tours for the exhibition begin May 6 and will be on Saturdays, Sundays and alternate Thursdays (beginning May 10) at 2 p.m. “Collecting Contemporaries: Recent Acquisitions from the Koch and Wolf Collections” will be on view in the June M. McCormack Forefront Galleries on floor four of the IMA Galleries.