NORFOLK, VA. – The Chrysler Museum of Art announced that Hampton Roads philanthropist Joan Brock has made a $34 million gift to the museum, including 40 works of art from the Macon and Joan Brock Collection and two position endowments, including the director of the museum. This gift will also support the expansion of the Perry Glass Studio.
“The Brock Collection is one of the most significant private collections of American art assembled in the 21st century. Major paintings and works on paper by the most important artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries chart a broad history of American art of the period and will allow the Chrysler to tell new and more compelling stories of our nation’s artistic history,” said Brock Curator of American Art Corey Piper.
The gift includes 29 paintings by artists such as John Singer Sargent, John La Farge, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, George Benjamin Luks, George Bellows, Childe Hassam, Marsden Hartley, Sally Michel and William MacGregor Paxton. Among the 10 works on paper are two by William Merritt Chase, two by Winslow Homer, and a watercolor by Charles Ephraim Burchfield. A glass sculpture by Debora Moore is also included.
The Brock collection spans nearly 100 years of American art, from just after the Civil War to the mid-20th century. The collection builds substantially upon the Chrysler’s holdings of American art, adding works by 15 artists not previously represented and filling in key gaps in the museum’s collection. Major movements from the late 19th century, including the Hudson River School, American Impressionism and the Aesthetic movement, will be more fully explored at the museum through the gift of works by Sanford Robinson Gifford, John Leslie Breck and Abbott Henderson Thayer.
Important works of American Modernism by Marsden Hartley, Charles Sheeler, Preston Dickinson and William Baziotes will enhance the museum’s 20th-century galleries and more fully illustrate the rise of abstraction and other modern developments in American art. The Brock collection is particularly strong in drawings, pastels and watercolors, and the gift contributes to the Chrysler’s emphasis on the study and appreciation of works on paper through the addition of works by James Carroll Beckwith, Sargent, Chase, Homer and others.
A selection of the works will be on view in a Winter 2023-24 exhibition at the Chrysler. The presentation will be accompanied by the publication of a comprehensive catalog of the collection, with essays written by the museum’s curators and leading scholars of American art.
“I could not be happier to make this gift to the Chrysler, and to the Hampton Roads region that has been my home for most of my life,” said Joan Brock. “I have great esteem for the institution, its leaders and the talented team of professionals who work there. Our collection has brought us true joy and I’m hoping museum visitors will be inspired as we have by these great artists.”
Joan Brock is a longstanding Chrysler Museum supporter, as was her late husband, Macon Brock. She was the first woman to preside on the Chrysler Museum Board, and she served as a museum docent among many other volunteer efforts at the museum. Macon Brock chaired the museum’s 2014 capital campaign and the Brocks’ support funded the 2014 expansion of the museum’s facilities, which is named the Macon and Joan Brock Building. The Joan and Macon Brock Fund for American Art Endowment has made possible many recent exhibitions about American artists, including Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals; and Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel 1820-1920. Macon Brock was the co-founder of Dollar Tree, Inc., where Joan also held administrative positions during several decades.
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