NEW YORK—On June 14, the Art Institute of Chicago opened the new Richard and Mary L. Gray Wing. It occupies the north section of the museum’s original Allerton Building on Michigan Avenue, and was established with a major financial gift from the Grays to the Institute’s prints and drawings department in 2006. The Gray wing will house the museum’s first prints and drawings galleries, named for the collectors and philanthropists Jean and Steven Goldman.
“I’ve been an active dealer for 45 years, but even before that did a lot of collecting privately,” Richard Gray told ARTnewsletter, adding that “about 85 percent” of his collection is made up of works on paper, including drawings and watercolors. Gray says his collection spans more than four centuries, noting that he started out acquiring mostly contemporary work but gradually began to “move backwards” to mid- and early-20th-¬century works, then to 19th-century Impressionist and modern works on paper, and then to early 19th-century works. For the past decade or so, Gray says, he has generally concentrated on Old Master works “from the late 15th century on.”
The Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago, founded in 1963, and a New York branch, opened in 1997, focus on modern and contemporary American and European art. Gray is a former president of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and has been a life trustee of the Art Institute since 2004. At the Art Institute both Richard and his wife, Mary, are members of the Old Masters Society, the Classical Art Society and the Print and Drawing Club.
The Art Institute recently announced a major promised gift from the Grays, Collage, 1929, by Joan Miró, which it says “dramatically enhances” the museum’s collection of work by the artist. The Miró collage will be on view in the new wing’s inaugural exhibition,“Collecting for Chicago: Prints, Drawings, and Patronage,” which opened on June 14.
Art Institute director James Cuno noted that the Gray wing is the first in a series of new spaces to open this year, which will include a new Asian sculpture court as well as refurbished galleries for the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections.