Acquisitions News

Norton Museum in West Palm Beach Receives Momentous Gift Before Re-Opening in 2019

The promised gift by Howard L. and Judie Ganek to the Norton Museum of Art includes, as seen here in their Palm Beach home, pieces by Betty Goodman, Kara Walker, Sigmar Polke, Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, and Frank Stella.


In advance of a re-opening next year in a new Norman Foster-designed building in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Norton Museum of Art has received a gift of more than 100 works from the collection of Howard and Judie Ganek. The promised donation includes artworks by Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Donald Judd, Matthew Barney, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, and Pipilotti Rist, among others. 

“When we were thinking of what we were going to do with our collection, it never occurred to us to think about the Norton,” Howard Ganek told ARTnews of deliberations in years past. But after they delved into the details of the expansion plan that is on course for completion in February 2019, “a light went off and we said, ‘This is the place.’ This will be an important museum, and we look forward to it.”

Works by Cindy Sherman and Juan Muñoz, pictured above, are part of the gift.


Some of the works will go on view for the opening of the Norton’s new building, which will increase exhibition space by 37 percent and feature new design-minded enticements including public gardens by Foster.

The museum also announced today the full slate of exhibitions for its re-opening, including shows for Nina Chanel Abney—as part of the museum’s “RAW (Recognition of Art by Women)” series—and Ralston Crawford, as well as the themed exhibitions “Out of the Box: Camera-less Photography,” “Going Public: Florida Collectors Celebrate the Norton,” “Modern Spontaneity: Ralph Norton’s Watercolors,” and “Good Fortune to All: A Chinese Lantern Festival in 16th-Century Nanjing.”

Ganek, who lives in Palm Beach with his wife, said that the expansion and exhibition program mark a change for the institution. “We’ve been members of the Norton and it was also a very nice, quiet, sweet museum,” he said. “I think it’s a real museum now.”

In a statement comparing the Ganeks’ gift to that of the museum’s namesake, the steel magnate Ralph Norton, Hope Alswang, the institution’s executive director and CEO, said, “Over the years, the Norton has benefitted from the generosity of many collectors who have given the museum outstanding gifts of art. This commitment from the Ganeks is among the most important in the history of the museum, transforming our collection.”

Ganek is a retired partner of the investment firm Neuberger Berman. Among his fellow partners and art-collecting colleagues were Roy Neuberger, founder of the Neuberger Museum of Art in upstate Purchase, New York; Howard Lipman, who served as chairman and president of the Whitney Museum; and Arthur Goldberg.

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