Denver Art Museum gets $60m contemporary art gift

The collectors Kent and Vicki Logan donate 300 works of art and an endowment


New York

US collectors Kent and Vicki Logan have announced a $60m gift to the Denver Art Museum, the largest in the institution’s history. The promised bequest includes a collection valued at more than $35m, with 300 works by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Katharina Fritsch, Jeff Koons, Marlene Dumas, Damien Hirst, Neo Rauch, Fang Lijun, and Zhang Huan among others. The bequest also includes a $10m endowment for the institution’s modern and contemporary art department and the Logan’s $15m home and private gallery in Vail along with $5m to maintain the property, which may be sold after five years. The gift, which will include future acquisitions, will be transferred to the museum after the couple’s death.

The Logans already gave the Denver Museum 213 works in 2001; a display drawn from this earlier gift will inaugurate a new wing designed by architect Daniel Libeskind that is scheduled to open this autumn.

Mr Logan, 62, was a senior partner at Montgomery Securities in San Francisco before the couple moved to Colorado in 2000 where he is a trustee of the Aspen Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum (see below).

His wife remains a trustee of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to which the couple have donated some 300 works of contemporary art.

The Logans became major buyers of contemporary art in the late 1990s and held talks with a number of institutions about possible donations from their collection including Tate in London and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

A collection sharing agreement between SFMOMA and the Tate in London was discussed in 1999 but we understand that the British institution was unable to accommodate the conditions attached to the proposed gift, such as the requirement that a series of shows drawn from the collection be displayed at the gallery. Similar negotiations with the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art were also unsuccessful, leading to the Denver gift.

“Vicki and I have always wanted our philanthropy to make a difference,” says Mr Logan, noting that with the new wing opening at the Denver Museum, the construction of the Still Museum and the future Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by the London architect David Adjaye and due to open in Denver in 2008, there was a “unique window of opportunity to add to the momentum and critical mass and take Denver to a new plateau in terms of the visual arts.”