Chancellor Howard Gillman
Nov. 5, 2016
To the Anteater community:
We are humbled and honored to be the recipient of the generous donation of the Irvine Museum’s art collection as announced by the organization’s president, James Irvine Swinden. Mr. Swinden’s mother, Joan Irvine Smith, was instrumental in securing the land upon which our great university was built, believing a prominent research institution would add to the economic and intellectual vitality of the region. She and her family have also been passionate in their belief in the power of art to uplift and illuminate, and in that spirit founded the Irvine Museum of Art in 1992.
The donation reaffirms a long and supportive relationship between UCI and the Irvine family, and lays a foundation for advancing our campus as a destination for people who want to understand the world and human experience through California art. This goal builds on one of the central pillars of our strategic plan: to make pervasive the impact of art, culture, creative expression, and humanistic inquiry on our broader research and education missions, and to pursue opportunities to develop art collections and exhibition spaces.
Valued at $17 million, it is the campus’s single largest gift of art to date and will initiate the process of constructing a museum at UCI that will be a world-class point of destination for the study and appreciation of California art. We believe our campus is the ideal location to serve as steward of this vibrant part of our state’s cultural history. The Irvine Museum collection features some of the most exquisite pieces of California impressionism in the world from notable artists such as William Wendt, Franz A. Bischoff, George Brandriff, Frank Cuprien, Joseph Kleitsch and Donna Schuster. We are confident that this collection will be a catalyst for others who want to partner with us to make this exciting contribution to Orange County’s cultural landscape.
For now, the art will continue to be on display at the Irvine Museum until the campus identifies an alternative site at UCI.
I want to give a special acknowledgement to Dean Stephen Barker and Senior Vice Provost Michael Clark for their leadership on this initiative.
Please join me in expressing our deepest gratitude to the Irvine family for their continued philanthropy and friendship.