Fantastic Philanthropy

This past week, an astounding gift by two San Francisco families enabled the SFMOMA to purchase "Intermission" -- one of Edward Hopper's greatest paintings still residing in private hands.

Completed in 1963, it is a large work, and evokes the "noir" cropping of his dramatic style. Indeed, the title refers to a film intermission -- which makes it even more emblematic.

Access today's AK Files via the link, and you will read about the art philanthropy of Charles Schwab, and the Fishers (of Gap retailer fame) who put millions on the table so that this painting could hang at SFMOMA .

Although, the museum will not divulge the purchase price, it is probably north of $25 million, which was the auction price achieved by a similar work.

Nowadays, many rich donors would expect their name on the building for such largesse. For example, one Miami collector insists that an entire museum be named after him for a gift not much larger than the one above.

Obviously, Miami won't be receiving any Hopper gifts soon, given that those paintings exceed the value of the entire museum. Important Pollock's and Rothko's -- known to reside in several South Florida collections -- will also be out of reach.

Why would anyone donate a monumental work to a facility where the stated value is less than the artwork?

Our collectors applaud San Francisco for maintaining an important art institution named in honor of the community . After all, the SF in its MOMA does not stand for Schwab or Fisher.

We also appreciate some generous regional donors who make sure that is stocked with the best art on the planet.

Unless you happen to be a world famous artist like Clyfford Still who will hand over your entire body of work, museum naming rights belong to the community at large. Marvelous benefactors belong on the inside along with their stunning gifts.

Sunday Regards,