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Tacoma Art Museum Gets Big Gift

Marcie Sillman

A German billionaire and his wife are donating a major collection of Western American art to the Tacoma Art Museum. KUOW's Marcie Sillman has more.


Erivan Haub and his wife Helga started collecting art of the American West almost 30 years ago. But Tacoma Art Museum Director Stephanie Stebich says she never expected the Haubs would donate their collection to her museum.

Stephanie Stebich: "They approached us, so you can imagine that I was stunned and thrilled at the same time."

The Haub collection includes 280 paintings. They date from the 1820s up through the present. 19th century landscape artists Alfred Bierstadt and Thomas Moran are represented, along with painters Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Georgia O'Keefe. In addition to the art, the Haubs have also promised the museum money to help fund a major expansion, as well as an endowment. Tacoma Art Museum Director Stephanie Stebich calls this an ideal gift.

Stephanie Stebich: "Think about it. A collection. Funds to help build an expansion, a separate wing to share this collection with the public. And also funds to endow it, to care for it into the future."

Donor Erivan Haub owns one of Germany's largest food retailers, along with 40 percent of the American grocery chain A&P. Haub also owns extensive property in Wyoming and Washington state, including Sun Mountain Lodge in the Methow Valley. Forbes Magazine lists Haub as one of the 200 wealthiest men in the world.

For most of its history, the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) has focused on Northwest art and artists. Stephanie Stebich says the Haub gift will transform TAM into a destination for Western American art.

The museum has hired Seattle architect Tom Kundig to design a 10,000 square foot addition. Stebich expects it to open to the public sometime in mid–2014.

I'm Marcie Sillman, KUOW News.

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