700-piece Suida-Manning Collection features masterpieces of
Italian, French, and German art from the Renaissance and Baroque

NOVEMBER 12, 1998, AUSTIN, TX--Larry R. Faulkner, President of The University of Texas at Austin (UT), announced today that the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art has acquired the Suida-Manning Collection, one of the largest and most important collections of Old Master paintings and drawings in private hands. The Suida-Manning Collection includes 700 works of art spanning the fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries and is respected throughout the world for the exceptional quality and depth of its holdings. Many of the works in the collection are among the finest in existence by their respective masters, including such artists as Boucher, Cambiaso, Correggio, Fragonard, Guercino, Lorrain, Poussin, Rubens, Tiepolo, and Veronese. With this acquisition, the Blanton, already one of the foremost university art museums in the United States, gains international stature as the home of one of the nation's preeminent collections of Renaissance and Baroque art.
The Assembled over two generations by a family of noted art historians--William Suida and Robert and Bertina Suida Manning--the Suida-Manning Collection comes to the Blanton as a partial gift of its owners, Kurt and Alessandra Manning Dolnier, who, in keeping with the wishes of their family, wanted the Collection to remain together, and preferably in a museum in Texas, where it would be available to scholars and the general public alike. The acquisition of the Suida-Manning Collection also has been made possible through lead gifts totaling $4.75 million from three anonymous museum supporters. The University has embarked on a campaign to raise $15 million to support the acquisition.

"This acquisition will serve as an invaluable teaching resource for students, faculty, and the people of Texas," said President Faulkner. "Creating a public home for the Suida-Manning Collection also will serve scholars from around the world. 

These magnificent works of art will advance the mission of the Blanton Museum of Art and its reputation as a leading university art museum. We are extremely grateful to the Dolnier family and the other donors who are making this possible. This is a great day in the cultural life of The University, the State of Texas, and the art community." 

The Suida-Manning Collection, along with the Blanton's existing holdings, will be the largest collection of earlier European art in the South and Southwest, and, in terms of quality, the best collection of its kind in Texas other than Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum. The addition of the Collection to the Blanton elevates the institution into the highest echelon of the country's university art museums and transforms The University of Texas at Austin into a major center for Renaissance and Baroque scholarship. The Collection also gives the City of Austin, already well known for its live music scene and high quality of life, a world-class museum rivaling those of the region's major cities. The Suida-Manning Collection will attract visitors from throughout the United States and abroad as one of the principal collections housed in the Blanton's new museum building scheduled to open in late 2002. Until the completion of this facility, selections from the Suida-Manning Collection will be shown in the Blanton's permanent collection galleries in the Harry Ransom Center, and special exhibitions drawn from the Collection will be presented in the Museum's exhibition galleries in the Art Building. 

Saint "The acquisition of the Suida-Manning Collection is an historic moment for the Blanton Museum of Art and the City of Austin," remarked Jessie Otto Hite, Director of the Blanton. "It brings a new level of quality and distinction to the Blanton and gives Austin a cultural resource with international significance. The Collection will create new opportunities for the Blanton to undertake groundbreaking research on the art of the Renaissance and Baroque, to develop major exhibitions and collaborations with museums throughout the world, and to attract other collections and works of this caliber to the Museum."

 The Suida-Manning Collection stands as one of the finest art collections of its kind in the United States and is widely regarded as the last great collection of late Renaissance and Baroque art still in private hands. The Collection is comprised of approximately 250 paintings, 400 drawings, and fifty sculptures. 

These works reflect exceptional depth in sixteenth through eighteenth-century Italian art and seventeenth-century French art, with smaller but important groups of eighteenth-century French art and seventeenth through eighteenth-century German art. 

Among the numerous master paintings in the Collection are: Sebastiano del Piombo, Portrait of a Man, circa 1516, an exceptionally fine and rare example of High Renaissance portrait painting; Veronese, The Annunciation, 1580s, a late altarpiece that is particularly fresh and luminous; Guercino, Landscape with Tobias and the Angel, circa 1616-17, one of the most important examples of the artist's treatment of landscape subjects; Daniele Crespi, The Conversion of St. Paul, circa 1623, the finest painting in this country illustrating the artist's complex and dramatic style; Claude Lorrain, Pastoral Landscape, circa 1628-30, one of the artist's earliest known works; Peter Paul Rubens, Study of the Head of a Youth, a fresh, vibrant study by the master of Flemish painting; Nicholas Poussin, Pastoral Landscape, circa 1627, one of a number of exemplary works in the collection illustrating the classical landscape tradition; Simon Vouet, Saint Cecilia, circa 1627, perhaps the most beautiful painting by this artist in any American museum; Giovanni Battista Passeri, Musical Party in a Garden, 1640s, one of only two paintings in the world accepted as the work of this important biographer; Mattia Preti, Martyrdom of Saint Catherine, circa 1657, a vibrant oil sketch for a ceiling painting in the church of San Pietro a Maiella in Naples; Sebastiano Ricci, Flora, circa 1712-16, a beautiful mythological painting that evokes the work of Titian and Veronese; and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, The Story Teller, 1765, one of a famed series of canvases by the artist exploring life in eighteenth-century Venice. 

The hundreds of drawings in the Suida-Manning Collection likewise include a large number of masterpieces such as: Correggio, Study for the `Allegory of Virtue,' circa 1530-34, an extremely rare and highly developed preparatory drawing for a painting now belonging to the Louvre; Luca Cambiaso, Martrydom of St. Sebastian, circa 1555-60, one of the most striking and celebrated drawings by the virtuoso Mannerist artist; Bernardo Strozzi, Study of the Head of a Woman, 1630s, an extremely rare drawing by the leading painter in early seventeenth-century Genoa; and François Boucher, Mucius Scaevola before King Lars Porsenna, circa 1726-28, an unusually large and dynamic drawing and a stunning example of the artist's early style as a draftsman. 

In addition to these individual masterpieces, the Suida-Manning Collection includes encyclopedic holdings of several regional schools of Italian painting. Among the highlights of these unusually rich concentrations are eight paintings and more than forty drawings by Luca Cambiaso, the founder of the school of Genoa, giving the Blanton one of the world's largest collections of this artist's work. The Collection includes a dozen drawings and two paintings by Guercino, the master of the school of Bologna; with a third painting by the artist already in the Blanton's collection, the Museum possesses a range and quality of Guercino's work that is virtually unsurpassed in this country. There are five outstanding oil-on-paper studies by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, the leading figure in Genoa in the mid-seventeenth century; three major paintings and three drawings by Baciccio, one of the two leading painters in late seventeenth-century Rome; and six paintings by Sebastiano Ricci, a prominent figure in eighteenth-century Venetian painting, that together represent the largest group of his works in the United States.

Study "While the Suida-Manning Collection is significant for its masterpieces alone, the Collection's real distinction lies in the extraordinary number and interrelation of its works by less familiar masters and schools," remarked Jonathan Bober, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Blanton Museum of Art. "In terms of both the Blanton's primary mission and the history of art, the Suida-Manning Collection is a staggering sum even greater than its exquisite parts." Bober, a specialist in North Italian art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who had known the Collection since graduate school and worked closely with Robert Manning in the years just before his death, will assume curatorial responsibility for its paintings as well. 

Long celebrated and central to scholarship on painting and drawing from the Renaissance and Baroque, works from the Suida-Manning collection have been widely published and loaned to major exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. At present, seven works are on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and another twelve are on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. 

The Suida-Manning Collection will be transferred in its entirety to the Blanton, where selections will go on view beginning in early 1999. A large body of archival material, including letters, photographs, and documents compiled by William Suida and Robert and Bertina Suida Manning, will also come to the Blanton as a gift of Kurt and Alessandra Manning Dolnier. 

The Suida-Manning Collection is unique not only for the unparalleled quality and depth of its holdings, but because it was assembled over the course of two generations by a family of scholars who were experts in the field of early European art and upheld the highest standards of connoisseurship. The collection was started in the early 1900s by William Suida (1877-1959), an Austrian-born art historian known for his pioneering research on Leonardo da Vinci and the school of Genoa. Author of well over 100 scholarly articles and books and an authority on Italian art of the Renaissance and Baroque, Suida worked as principal advisor to Samuel H. Kress in addition to being an avid collector of work from Genoa, Lombard, and Venice. 

Flora William Suida's daughter Bertina Suida (1922-1992), who moved to the United States in 1939, shared her father's passion for the art of this period, as did her husband Robert Manning (1924-1996), a native of Mart, Texas, whom she met while studying art history at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Following their marriage, the couple began to travel and collect extensively, filling their New York home with works by many of history's greatest artists. The couple inherited William Suida's collection following his death and continued to refine and add to its strong holdings and character. Many of their most important acquisitions were made possible by their ability to make discoveries and correctly identify works that were at the time misattributed or thought to be by unknown artists. 
In addition to building their own collection, both Robert and Bertina Suida Manning helped shape two major public collections of Old Master paintings: in the 1950s, Bertina served as curator of the Chrysler Collection, and Robert worked alongside his father-in-law as the curator for the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Later, he served as the Director of the Finch College Museum of Art in New York and as an Honorary Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Bertina authored numerous scholarly articles and researched and published the first monograph on Luca Cambiaso in 1958 in collaboration with her father; she was knighted by the Italian government for her contributions to the study of Cambiaso and the art of Genoa. Together, the Mannings played a significant role in fostering appreciation for the art of the Baroque across the United States through a series of groundbreaking exhibitions and publications. Always committed to sharing their collection and knowledge with scholars and the public alike, the Mannings frequently loaned works of art to museums throughout the world and opened their home to scholars and students. 

"It had been the dream of my parents to see this Collection kept together in an environment where it would be treasured, studied, and utilized by future generations of art historians as well as by the general public. And it was my father's special wish to bring it to his native state, Texas," remarked Alessandra Manning Dolnier, the daughter of Robert and Bertina Suida Manning. "My husband, Kurt, and I wholeheartedly share my parents' vision, and we are delighted that the Suida-Manning Collection will have a permanent home at the Blanton Museum of Art." 

The Suida-Manning Collection will serve as a major cultural resource for the Blanton Museum of Art and The University of Texas at Austin, as well as for the City of Austin and the entire State of Texas, bringing to them works representing the Western tradition at the highest level. As an educational tool, the Collection fills a substantial gap in the Blanton's existing holdings and offers the University community and visitors to Austin access to one of the nation's most distinguished collections of early European art. Typically, works of this quality and number could not be seen without extensive travel in Europe, and their presence at The University will provide students, faculty, and visiting scholars with unprecedented opportunities to conduct original art historical research. The Suida-Manning Collection will be fully integrated into The University's undergraduate and graduate programs in studio art and art history, as well as in courses throughout the humanities and social sciences. The Blanton will preserve the collection for future generations, research and publish its many works, and continue to provide loans from the Collection to major exhibitions around the world. In addition, the Blanton will continue to acquire new works for the Suida-Manning Collection to ensure that it remains a vital, growing resource. 

Since its opening in 1963, the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art (formerly the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery) has emerged as one of the foremost university art museums in the country and the leading art museum serving the City of Austin. The Blanton is the principal repository for works of art at The University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest research universities in the United States, with academic programs and faculty that rank among the top nationwide. The Blanton's permanent collection--the largest and most important in central Texas--includes 12,000 works of art that span the history of Western civilization from antiquity to the present. In addition to the Suida-Manning Collection, the Blanton is known for its strong holdings of modern and contemporary American art, contemporary Latin American art, and prints and drawings from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries. As a teaching museum, the Blanton is an important center for scholarship, research, and professional training in the visual arts, and it regularly presents an extensive schedule of special exhibitions and educational programs to The University and surrounding region. 

A Sibyl The Blanton also serves as a vital component of the cultural life of Austin, the capital of Texas and the second-fastest growing city in the nation, with a metropolitan population of more than one million. Known for its booming high-tech industry, live music scene, and burgeoning film business, Austin is now experiencing a dynamic expansion of its arts institutions. As the city's most established and only encyclopedic art museum, the Blanton contributes substantially to the high quality of life and vitality for which Austin is known. Through its role at The University of Texas at Austin, the state's flagship institution of higher learning, the Blanton also enriches the cultural life of the entire region, helping people throughout Texas appreciate the history and role of the arts in their personal lives, work, and communities.
Currently, the Blanton is planning a major new facility that will unite its collections, exhibitions, and programs under one roof for the first time in its thirty-five year history. Scheduled to open in 2002, the new Blanton Museum of Art will occupy more than 100,000 square feet and be located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Speedway, one of the main entrances to the campus and the nearby Texas State Capitol, enabling the Museum to serve as a cultural gateway between The University and the Austin and Texas communities. Equipped with state-of-the-art exhibition galleries, classrooms, and facilities for conservation and storage, this new building will enable the Blanton to exhibit more of its permanent collection than ever before and allow greater access to this vital cultural resource for The University and general public alike. To date, the Blanton has raised more than $36 million in gifts and pledges toward the new museum in a highly successful capital and endowment campaign--an important part of UT's overall effort to raise $1 billion to strengthen its position as one of the nation's premiere public universities. Major support for the new museum has come from throughout Texas, reflecting the vital role the Blanton plays as a catalyst for the arts at UT and across the state. 

Other links for news on the Suida-Manning Collection include:
Austin American Statesman
The Daily Texan

For further information or photographic materials, please contact: 

Bill Thompson
Public Affairs Officer
Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art
phone: 512-232-1988
fax: 512-471-7023

Paige Bartels
Assistant Director for Public Affairs
Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art
phone: 512-471-9191
fax: 512-471-7023

Katherine Weber
Resnicow Schroeder Associates, New York
phone: 212-501-8035
fax: 212-877-8182

Return to Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art
College of Fine Arts
The University of Texas at Austin