The American Folk Art Museum’s coffers are a bit fuller today after receiving an over $1 million bequest from David L. Davies, a noted folk art collector and former museum trustee who died in March, and his partner Jack Weeden.
Plagued by debt in recent years, the museum was forced to cancel an exhibition in Venice that had been scheduled to coincide with the 2011 Biennale. That announcement, in late April 2011, was followed by the resignation of director Maria Ann Conelli, and the difficult decision to sell its 53rd Street home to its neighbor, the Museum of Modern Art. The museum closed its flagship on July 9th of last year, relocating to its smaller Lincoln Center facility.
Selling the museum’s Tod Williams and Billie Tsien building, which opened in 2001, allowed the institution to pay off the $31.9 million in bond debt still owed for its construction.
The museum will use the money to establish the David Davies & Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions. Davies, a Folk Art Museum trustee from 1990 to 2010, had also donated several artworks to the institution, including Man on a Bicycle Trade Sign (ca. 1899) and Morris Hirshfield’s The Artist and His Model (1945).