The Dallas Museum of Art
(DMA) today announced that The Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust is making a $100,000 gift toward the Museums art conservation efforts. It will be named the Graham Williford Foundation for American Art Endowment for Art Conservation and will specifically support the conservation of American paintings and decorative arts prior to 1920 in the Museums collections.
This endowment is the Foundations first large gift to the DMA although the Museum has several long-term loans of artwork from Mr. Willifords distinctive private collection currently on view in its fourth floor American galleries. These include a substantial range of rare flatware and silver pieces by Tiffany and Gorham, including the Travers Stake presentation trophy; a bronze sculpture by Frederick William MacMonnies (Pan of Rohallion); and paintings by Cecilia Beaux (At the Piano), Thomas Doughty (View in Maine), and Asher B. Durand (Wooded Landscape).
"We are deeply grateful to the Graham Williford Foundation for this generous gift to the DMA, said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Museum. With this endowment, we will continue the important work of supporting Grahams passion for American art that is so acutely represented in the artwork we have exhibited in our galleries and to upholding the fundamental mission of the DMA to care for and preserve great works of art for all time.
In 2006, the Dallas Museum of Art presented There and Back Again: Selections from the Graham D. Williford Collection of American Art, which celebrated the significant American paintings and silver of this longtime Museum supporter, and explored a rich relationship between the American and European art worlds after the U.S. Civil War. The exhibition was drawn from the private collection of this Fairfield, Texas native, who began collecting art in the 1950s.
There and Back Again showcased rare and little-known examples of late 19th-century American painting and silver, studying the search for a national artistic identity through American styles and subjects back home. It included more than three dozen important American works created by artists who were studying, working and exhibiting in Europe and America within that critical era.
The Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust was founded in 2006 after the death of Graham Williford. The Foundation office is located in Fairfield, Texas and houses a small gallery of paintings and decorative art for the citizens of Fairfield to enjoy at no charge. It was Grahams desire that his artwork be displayed as much as possible for the enjoyment of the general public and thus the Foundation has adopted this as its mission. It strives to make Grahams art and decorative art available to any museum that might be interested in an exhibit, no matter how small or how large. There have been two very successful exhibits since his death and the Dallas Museum of Art houses some of Grahams finest works.