SFMOMA To Host Fisher Collection for 100 Years

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- On May 14th, the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opened to the public, featuring an expansive new addition displaying 260 of the 1,100 pieces of postwar and contemporary artwork from the family of Doris and the late Donald Fisher, co-founders of the Gap Inc.

The Fisher Collection will be on view at SFMOMA for a 100-year period.

Nixon Peabody LLP’s Art & Cultural Institutions Practice, led by partner Thaddeus J. Stauber, served as deal counsel and advisor to the Fisher Family and SFMOMA to create this unprecedented agreement.

This complex development agreement was formalized after the Fishers announced their intention to loan their private collection to the museum prior to the death of Mr. Fisher in 2009.

SFMOMA’s 10-story expansion includes 170,000 square feet of new and renovated indoor and outdoor galleries tailored to the collection, enabling SFMOMA to display even more of its outstanding holdings of modern and contemporary artwork.

This past September SFMOMA announced it had reached an initial agreement to house the collection of GAP founders, Doris and Donald Fisher (Mr. Fisher past away days after the announcement). While early reports speculated a 25 year arangement, exact terms were not revealed until late last week.

Eclipsing initial estimates, SFMOMA will become the official home of the Fisher collection for the next 100 years. The museum also announced that an additional $250 million in endowment funds have been raised (largely a result of donations from the Fisher family, trustees and museum chairman, Charles Schwab), and that a new wing would be built to house the 1,100+ piece collection which currently resides in GAP corporate headquarters.

“This first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Fisher Family and SFMOMA is a new model of how partnerships between museums and collections can be successful in the future,” said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “As deal counsel, Nixon Peabody created a road map for our expansion. This new partnership has been met with great enthusiasm from the art community who has rallied around this expansion with excitement.”

The Fisher Collection includes an impressive array of painting, sculpture, photography, and new media works, by artists including Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and many others.

In addition to this partnership agreement, Mr. Stauber and his team which included Washington, D.C. partner Michael Cooney, Los Angeles partner Matthew Grazier, and San Francisco partner Anthony Barron, supported SFMOMA’s effort to meet its $610 million campaign goal which covers construction costs, nearly tripling its endowment and funded operating expenses for the three years the museum was closed.

The century long partnership will kick off June 25, when the museum opens Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection.

The exhibit, part of SFMOMA’s ongoing 75th anniversary celebration, is slated to feature some 160 pieces from the Fisher’s astounding contemporary art collection, including works by Ellsworth Kelly, Gerhard Richter, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Serra, Dan Flavin, Philip Guston, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, and Brice Marden to name a few.

Photo above : Donald Fisher at Gap headquarters (Image: Mike Kane/The San Francisco Chronicle, 2009