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Mary Margaret ‘Moo’ Anderson, Bay Area Philanthropist Who Transformed Stanford University’s Art Collection, Is Dead at 92

Mary Margaret "Moo" Anderson

Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson.

HARRISON TRUONG

Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson, who collected modern and contemporary works with her husband Harry “Hunk” Anderson, died on Tuesday at age 92. The Bay Area couple appeared on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list together in 1996, 1997, and 2004, and Hunk, who died last year, was listed by himself from 1990 to 1994.

In 2011, the Andersons gifted the bulk of their 20th-century American art collection to Stanford University in California and supported the establishment of the Anderson Collection, which opened to the public three years later. The original donation included 121 works by 86 artists, among them pioneers like Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella, and Wayne Thiebaud.

The Andersons also gave Stanford a large portion of their library of art books, catalogues, and ephemera, all of which are now housed in the university’s Denning Family Resource Center. “I think in order to enjoy art, you have to share it,” Moo once said.

Born in Boston in 1926, Moo met Hunk after graduating from D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. After they were married, they lived in Ohio before departing for the San Francisco Bay Area to open the headquarters for Hunk’s food service company, Saga Corporation, in 1964. The couple turned their attention to collecting shortly after arriving in California, working closely with artist and Stanford professor Nathan Oliveira and the art historian Albert Elsen.

Moo remained involved in the Anderson Collection following Hunk’s death. In recent years, she and her daughter Mary Patricia “Putter” Anderson Pence also collected work by emerging artists.

At Christie’s postwar and contemporary evening sale in November 2018, several works from the Andersons’ collection hit the block: Vija Celmins’s graphite on paper Star Field 1 (1981–82) sold for $2.41 million and a Philip Guston work of the same medium, Window (1969–70), sold for $3.13 million.

Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement, “Moo Anderson will forever be remembered for her love of art, but also for her love of sharing art. She opened her home so that students could have that same experience of looking and learning about art. We are so deeply grateful that Moo and Hunk trusted Stanford to be stewards of their remarkable collection and enable people of all ages to experience it on a daily basis.”

Jason Linetzky, director of the Anderson Collection, added, “Moo’s gifts of passion, of warmth and of believing that great art belongs to the world will forever energize the collection and the students and guests who visit and learn from it.”

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