Blanton Museum Receives Major Gift of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art

Aug. 28, 2014

Carlos Mérida Guatemala City, 1891 – Mexico City, 1985 Abstract , 1953 Glass mosaic on composite matrix. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City.

Carlos Mérida Guatemala City, 1891 – Mexico City, 1985 Abstract , 1953, Glass mosaic on composite matrix. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin has been gifted approximately 120 modern and contemporary Latin American artworks from UT alumni Judy and Charles Tate of Houston. In addition, the Tates have made a major contribution toward the endowment that supports the museum’s Latin American curatorship.

Their collection — the entirety of which will ultimately come to the Blanton — includes painting, drawing, prints, sculpture and mixed media works by artists Tarsila do Amaral, Lygia Clark, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Mérida, Wifredo Lam, Armando Reverón, Diego Rivera, Alejandro Xul Solar and Joaquín Torres-García, among others. Spanning the early 20th century to the present, the gift features many of the artists who were key to the creation of modernism in Latin America.

The endowment gift adds to the Tates’ past contributions to the Blanton’s Latin American art program and reaffirms their commitment to endowment building as an institutional priority. The total value of the gift to the Blanton is $10 million, enabling the museum to exceed its fundraising goal in the university’s Campaign for Texas. The university has exceeded its overall goal of $3 billion in the eight-year-long Campaign for Texas, which ends Aug. 31.

“With this gift, Charles and Judy have once again made a hugely valuable contribution to the life of UT Austin,” said UT President Bill Powers. “This gift will continue to put us at the forefront as one of the country’s best museums for Latin American art and will provide many new opportunities for students, faculty and art historians. The Tates are role models for their leadership and commitment, and I thank them.”

Ardent supporters of the university for many years, the Tates have together and individually served and supported the Texas Exes alumni association, the university’s Development Board, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) and the Commission of 125. Charles Tate was elected to the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame in 2003, and in 2007, he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Texas Exes. He also received a UT Presidential Citation in 2011. Judy Tate is the immediate past chair of the Blanton’s Museum Council and is actively involved with a number of other UT organizations.

“Judy and Charles Tate have been visionary partners in ensuring that their alma mater remains intrinsic to the international conversation on modern and contemporary Latin American art,” explained Blanton Director Simone Wicha.

“A great museum is built on the foundation of a great collection and the strength of its endowment. As the Blanton continues to grow and play a larger role on campus, the community, and beyond, so too must the museum’s holdings. And this extraordinary collection will enrich our students’ and visitors’ lives. The Tates’ investment in the endowment also will ensure many new opportunities for research and scholarship for future generations. The combination of these gifts will enhance the Blanton’s position as an institution of learning and its impact on the field of Latin American art.”

Lothar Charoux Composicao I, 1950, Oil on canvas. Promised gift of Judy and Charles Tate.

The Tate collection will introduce many new artists to the Blanton, as well as strengthen the museum’s examples of modern and postwar artistic innovation from Latin America. It also builds upon the museum’s rich legacy of exhibitions and scholarship in the field of Latin American art.

From Sept. 20 to Feb. 15, 2015, the Blanton will present a selection of approximately 70 works from the collection in an exhibition titled La línea continua.

A fully illustrated catalog of the Tate gift will be published this fall, with a preface by Powers; Wicha in conversation with Judy and Charles Tate; an essay by Blanton Curator of Latin American Art Beverly Adams; and short pieces by UT art and art history graduate students.

For more information, contact: Kathleen Brady Stimpert, Jack S Blanton Museum of Art, 512 475 6784.