PARRISH ART MUSEUM GIVEN THE ENTIRETY OF THE JAMES AND CHARLOTTE BROOKS FOUNDATION, COMPRISING THE ARTIST’S WORKS AND ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
Groundbreaking partnership entrusts the Parrish with most significant collections of works by Brooks and Charlotte Park and will create a fund to support modern and contemporary initiatives at the Museum
Terrie Sultan, Director of the Parrish Art Museum, and Kathryn Brooks Dodson, President of the James and Charlotte Brooks Foundation, today announced that, through an unprecedented agreement, the Museum has been given the art, archives, and all other resources of the Foundation established by key Abstract Expressionists James Brooks (1906 - 1992) and Charlotte Park (1918 - 2010). This transfer to the Museum of assets and responsibility for stewardship of the legacy of Brooks and Park marks the dissolution of the Foundation. It also furthers the Parrish’s mission to illuminate the creative process by collecting the work of artists in depth, and serves its particular focus on artists associated with the East End of Long Island, New York. In addition, the Museum will draw upon the Foundation’s assets to establish the James and Charlotte Brooks Fund, an endowment to provide support for research, care, and exhibition of works by the two artists, and to underwrite Parrish projects in modern and contemporary art.
“This generous gift will build upon the Parrish’s renowned collection of late 19th- to 21st-century American painting and allow the Museum to provide richly expanded context for its existing strengths,” said Sultan. “Now, along with our major holdings of works by William Merritt Chase and Fairfield Porter, we have the opportunity to engage in thorough scholarship and interpretation of the work of these pivotal artists, in order to both further the understanding and appreciation of Brooks’ and Park’s careers, and to also engage in lively dialogue about the creative legacy of artists who have lived and worked on the East End.”
“This innovative agreement with the Parrish handsomely advances the wishes of James Brooks and Charlotte Park by providing a fine home for their work,” stated Dr. Dodson. “It also stands as a model for how small artist foundations can fulfill their mission by collaborating with museums in new ways. The Foundation’s resources can now be fully dedicated to advancing artistic, scholarly, and educational goals, including the study, stewardship, and presentation of the artists’ work and to the support of contemporary artists, which was a central focus of their lives. On behalf of the Foundation and especially Jim and Charlotte, I’d like to thank Terrie Sultan and her Board for their leadership in bringing this vision to fruition.”
“The Parrish is uniquely placed within one of the most robust creative communities in the United States,” said Frederic M. Seegal, Chair of the Parrish Board of Trustees. “Internationally renowned artists lived and worked here side-by-side with a burgeoning generation of emerging artists. James Brooks and Charlotte Park each have a story to tell that, contextualized by the strengths of the permanent collection, together create a narrative that is both intellectually and visually compelling. The Museum is honored to have worked with the Foundation trustees to execute this unprecedented agreement.”
Under the agreement developed by the Museum and the Foundation, the Parrish will add to its permanent collection 89 paintings, drawings, and prints by Brooks and Park. These works were selected by the Museum in consultation with John R. Lane, a Foundation trustee and the chair of its Art Committee, and form the largest, most historically comprehensive and artistically absorbing holdings of their art anywhere and bring remarkable depth and richness to the Parrish’s collection of American abstraction dating from the 1940s forward. The Foundation, which has also recently donated 170 works by the artists to the permanent collections of 20 other American museums, has encouraged the Parrish to sell gifts it has made of additional, not-intended-for-accessioning works by the two artists, with the income to be directed to the enhancement of the Museum’s James and Charlotte Brooks Fund.
Brooks and Park were key figures in and made significant contributions to modern American art history. At the urging of their close friends Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, Brooks and Park spent their first summer on the East End in 1947 in a tiny shack perched on the Montauk bluffs. By 1957 they were living full time in Springs and had become key members of the artistic community. During that decade Brooks had developed a style that reveals the staining and dripping on unprimed canvas that became a signature of the artist’s embrace of experimentation and risk. Park’s paintings evolved as well from a use of shallow cubist space, often in black and white, to the rhythmic lines and vibrant color of her later work.
“I can think of no other painters whose commitment to art and their artistic community was as strong as that of James Brooks and Charlotte Park in the decades that they lived on the East End. This gift brings enormous opportunities to further investigate that important period,” observed Alicia G. Longwell, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator at the Parrish.
The Museum will soon begin the processes of cataloguing the acquisitions and subsequently initiating a major survey exhibition dedicated to the work of James Brooks, accompanied by a fully-illustrated book.