The Foundation for the Reading Public Museum has announced a landmark gift from the Estate of Dr. Luther W. Brady, Jr., an important collector and world-renowned radiation oncologist from Philadelphia.
A long-time friend and beloved patron of The Museum, Dr. Brady’s extraordinary generosity will enrich The Museum and the community for years to come. The gift includes over 120 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by important twentieth and twenty-first century artists.
The Museum will display many of the works in an exhibition in the Jerome I. Marcus American Gallery and the Irvin and Lois E. Cohen Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art from July 8, 2023 through January 7, 2024.
One of the largest and most valuable bequests in The Museum’s 120-year history, the donation “will unquestionably transform the permanent collection of Modern and Contemporary art,” says Curator Scott A. Schweigert. “The gifts from the Estate will join the approximately 100 works previously donated by Dr. Brady between 2002 and 2018. Dr. Brady’s art collection was built over a period of approximately seven decades, during which he forged personal relationships with many of the world-renowned painters and sculptors. We are so grateful to Dr. Brady and his keen eye for high quality works that will now enrich our visitors’ experience at RPM.”
The gift includes works on canvas by iconic Abstract Expressionists like Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Esteban Vicente, Friedel Dzubas, and Kenzo Okada. These paintings will join works by American Modernists Jules Olitski, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson, George Segal, and Nancy Graves, among others.
Additional works represent British artists Howard Hodgkin, Henry Moore, Lynn Chadwick, and Antony Gormley. Also featured are works by important Native American modernist Fritz Scholder and Kevin Red Star, and paintings by Paul Pletka, who heroicizes Indigenous peoples in his work. Leading Philadelphia-area artists such as Liz Osborne, Thomas Chimes, Edna Andrade, Murray Dessner, Diane Burko, David Fertig, and Jimmy Leuders are also among the paintings to enter RPM’s collection as part of the Brady bequest.
Dr. Brady’s estate also made a major concurrent donation of art to the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he was an alumnus and where the campus art gallery bears his name. The two institutions will both host exhibits featuring the recent donations and co-publish a catalogue of some of the key works to enter each institution’s collections.
Dr. Brady, who died in 2018 at age 92, was an avid supporter of the visual and performing arts. He served two terms on The Museum’s Board of Directors and was a member of RPM’s Collections Committee. He was also an Emeritus Board member of the Santa Fe Opera, served on the Board of the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., and was a member of the Collections Committee at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he also endowed the Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art.