A Chicago philanthropist and his wife have given the Art Institute of Chicago a rare and incredible gift of 42 highly valued pieces of contemporary art.
The Art Institute announced the gift from Stefan T. Edlis and his wife, Gael Neeson, on Tuesday. It will be the largest gift the museum has received in its 136-year history.
Among the pieces of contemporary art in Edlis' and Neeson's donated collection are nine works by Andy Warhol, three paintings by Jasper Johns, one Robert Rauschenberg "Combine," two paintings by Roy Lichtenstein, four paintings by Gerhard Richter and a painting and sculpture by Cy Twombly.
Rounding out their collection at the Art Institute are works by Brice Marden, Eric Fischl, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Charles Ray, Takashi Murakami, Katharina Fritsch, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and John Currin.
The 42 works of art will be installed in early 2016 in the contemporary art galleries on the second floor of the Modern Wing. They will remain on permanent view for 50 years.
"A gift of art of this importance and scope is incredibly rare, occurring perhaps once every 40 or 50 years," Robert Levy, chairman of the Art Institute's Board of Trustees, said.
Edlis and Neeson have contributed to the Chicago arts and culture scene for many years. Edlis is a life trustee and leading donor at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where the couple has a theater named after them for donating iconic works of art. In addition, they support Chicago's WBEZ radio station, which broadcasts some of its programming from the Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson Foundation Talk Studio.
"With this gift, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson have not only ensured that people from around the world will visit Chicago for decades to come, but that the city will continue its rise in the ranks as one of the great global art destinations," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
"This collection is a generous gift to the people of Chicago, who, by calling the city home, recognize and revel in its energy, cultural resources and rich history."