The Frederick R. Weisman Foundation: A Hidden Oasis of Extraordinary 20th Century Art in Los Angeles
By Emily Waldorf
The Frederick R. Weisman Foundation in Los Angeles houses a fascinating collection of twentieth-century art that spans the decades, offering a diverse array of examples set in the unique context of the original collector’s home. Run by Mr. Weisman’s widow, the art conservator and curator, Billie Milam Weisman, the foundation lends work to museums worldwide, conducts docent tours at the Gordon B. Kaufman designed Los Angeles villa, sponsors exhibitions in public-art venues, and funds several art museums, including the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University in Malibu, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, designed by Frank O. Gehry.
The collection at the villa includes over four-hundred pieces of art displayed in the intimate context of a passionate collector’s private home. Artists include Cezanne, Picasso, Kandinsky, Ernst, Magritte, Giacometti, Noguchi, Johns, De Kooning, Rothko, Frankenthaler, Francis, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Ruscha.
The startling sculptures (you can’t miss them!) by Super Realists Hanson and de Andrea are my favorite works, though it is hard to pick favorites because the works are displayed in such a richly dense manner and each have their own distinct appeal. In addition to the gorgeous works of art, the Mediterranean style villa includes such period details as hand-painted ceilings, inlaid wood floors, and stucco details and a contemporary art pavilion designed by Franklin D. Israel that was added in 1991 for large-scale works. The collection can be seen by appointment only by contacting the foundation via their website.
Mr. Weisman famously said, “I don’t think there is anything that communicates better than art. It is quicker than language and clearer than philsophy.” I couldn’t agree more and this gem of a museum is well worth the relatively short two-hour tour with exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly docents.
Filed under: contemporary art, education, Los Angeles, museums | 211 Comments
Tags: Billie Milam Weisman, Frank O. Gehry, Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, Gordon B. Kaufman