Donald B. Marron’s list of philanthropic postings was long. At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Marron, who died in December 2019, was a trustee for more than four decades and a former president and president emeritus of its board. (His name and that of his wife, Catie, grace MoMA’s soaring second-floor atrium, which debuted with its 2004 expansion.) He was also formerly vice chairman of the board of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia and a former member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Between 1980 and 2000, as chairman of the brokerage firm PaineWebber, Marron amassed for the company more than 850 works by major American and European contemporary artists such as Jenny Holzer, Jasper Johns, Elizabeth Murray, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol—to name just a few.
He was “an advocate of art in the workplace,” as Carol Vogel put it in the New York Times in 2002, and the firm also commissioned new work from artists. (Susan Rothenberg, for instance, painted a work for its corporate dining room: those lucky executives.) More than 60 pieces from its collection have since been donated to MoMA. In 2005, those works were exhibited at MoMA in a show titled “Contemporary Voices.” In a Times review of the exhibition, critic Roberta Smith noted “outstanding works” by Philip Guston, Gerhard Richter, Richard Artschwager, and Anselm Kiefer, while adding, “The collection that Mr. Marron put together is amazingly strong for a corporate one, but that doesn’t keep it from feeling corporate.” The Paine Webber Collection conceived by Marron became the UBS Art Collection after UBS and Paine Webber merged in 2000 in a deal valued at $12 billion.