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Hutson Gives Historic Gift of Art
Bill Hutson, the Jennie Brown Cook and Betsy Hess Cook Distinguished Special Curator of the Hutson Collection. Photo by Michael Heberlein.
Abstract artist Bill Hutson, who served for many years as a faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History and whose work has been featured across the globe, has given the bulk of his art collection to Franklin & Marshall College.
One of the largest and most significant gifts in the College’s history, the collection is valued at more than $3 million. It contains more than 300 items, including numerous pieces of Hutson’s own work, artwork by other noted African-American contemporary artists, posters and memorabilia related to the history of African-American abstract art, and other publications linked to Hutson’s work.
With the gift, Hutson takes a new role at F&M as the Jennie Brown Cook and Betsy Hess Cook Distinguished Special Curator of the Hutson Collection. He previously served as the Cook Distinguished Artist-in-Residence. In his new role, he will assist in interpreting the collection for faculty and students, for the Trustee art collections committee and for the staff of the Phillips Museum of Art.
“For many generations to come, the Bill Hutson Collection at the Phillips Museum of Art will provide valuable opportunities for research, discussion and understanding about the role of African-American abstract artists in the contemporary art world,” says President John Fry. “I am deeply grateful to Bill for this tremendous gift to the College.”
More than 70 museums and galleries have featured or included Hutson’s work in exhibitions over the past four decades. His abstract paintings and painted objects appear in many private and public collections, including the National Museum of Southern Australia, the Boysmans-van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, Holland, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Recipient of the Cassandra Foundation Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Hutson also organized and curated “Something to Look Forward To,” an exhibition featuring 22 artists ages 60 and over, in 2003.