"Nude", 1936, by Edward Weston
May 22, 2012, source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA)
The Lane Collection is one of the finest private holdings of 20th-century American art in the world, encompassing an unparalleled collection of photographs. Included is Charles Sheeler’s entire photographic estate of nearly 2,500 works; an equal number of images by Edward Weston, considered the greatest assemblage of his work in private hands; and 500 photographs by Ansel Adams, the largest private collection of his work as well. (The gift brings the number of objects in the MFA’s photography collection—currently at 9,000—to 15,000, an increase of 66 percent.) The Lane Collection also features paintings and works on paper by major American modernists, including Arthur G. Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis, and John Marin, as well as Charles Sheeler. The gift was made by Saundra B. Lane, who, with her late husband, William H. Lane, has been a longtime supporter of the MFA.
The almost 2,500 prints by Sheeler (1883–1965), recognized as one of the founders of American modernism and a master photographer of the 20th century, represent all of his well-known photographic series—the Cubist-inspired images from his Doylestown House series (1916-1917), photographs taken at the River Rouge plant on the occasion of the introduction of the new Model A Ford (1927), views of France’s Chartres Cathedral (1929), and his industrial Power Series made for Fortune magazine (1939), among others. The 2,500 works by Weston (1886–1958), a pioneering modernist who has been called the “quintessential American photographer of his time,” include his portraits, nudes, still lifes, landscapes and cityscapes, as well as his forays into surrealism. Among the collection’s 500 works by acclaimed photographer Ansel Adams (1902–1984) are his early prints of the High Sierra, Canadian Rockies, the American Southwest, and the national parks.
The gift also features some 100 works on paper, including "ITLKSEZ" (1921) by Stuart Davis, "Our House" (1941) by Arthur G. Dove, "Portrait—Black" (1916) by Georgia O’Keeffe, and "Smokestacks" (1931) by Sheeler, known for his work in multiple media. Among the 25 paintings in the gift are "Skeleton" (1936) by Hyman Bloom, "Lunenburg" (1954) by Sheeler, "Eye Level" (1951–54) by Davis, "Square" (1953) by Franz Kline, and "Movement—Sea and Sky" (1946) by John Marin. These works join the previous gift of 90 important modernist paintings and works on paper given to the MFA by William and Saundra Lane in 1990. According to Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum, “this gift from MFA Trustee Saundra Lane will transform the Museum’s holdings.”