$300 M. Art Collection Filled with Treasures, Both Old and New, Donated to Seattle University

A $300 million art collection has been gifted to Seattle University in Washington, making it the largest donation of art to a university in the United States, according to the school. An additional $25 million purse will be used to found a new museum.

The donation comes from philanthropist Richard Hedreen, who formerly appeared on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list. In addition to giving his collection to the university, he is also donating additional funds. His late wife Elizabeth “Betty” Ann Petri Hedreen was a Seattle University alumna.

The Hedreen Collection includes more than 200 works of art dating from the 15th century to the present. Among the many highlights are paintings and sculpture by such artists as Titian, Thomas Gainsborough, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, and Cecily Brown; etchings by Lucien Freud; photographs by Berenice Abbott, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, and Andy Warhol; and contemporary works by Rashid Johnson, Vik Muniz, Amy Sherald, and Anna Weyant.

“Seattle University is honored to receive this transformational gift from the Hedreens, who have built one of the finest private art collections in the nation,” said Seattle University President Eduardo Peñalver in a statement.

Over the past 25 years, Richard and his wife, who passed away in 2022, were among the lead donors for the university’s award-winning Chapel of Saint Ignatius, designed by architect Steven Holl, which opened in 1997, and they co-chaired the funding campaign to build the university’s Lee Center for the Arts, where the Hedreen Gallery is located.

The pair also served as members of the art selection committees for the university’s Student Center and Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. Additionally, prior to this latest donation, they gave pieces of art such as outdoor sculptures by Joel Shapiro and James Rosati; paintings by modern and contemporary artists Jo Baer, Elizabeth Murray, Larry Poons, and Francesco Clemente, as well as Henri Matisse’s “Jazz” series. In 2011, Betty received the university’s Alumna of the Year Award.

“My wife, Betty, attended Seattle University and I am giving the collection to the university in her honor,” said Richard Hedreen in a statement. “Betty and I always felt that we were custodians of the artworks we acquired, holding them in trust for a larger purpose. The Jesuits place a special focus on the arts and humanities, including art history, and that has long been reflected in Seattle University’s Jesuit education and its connections to the Seattle arts community. My goal is to keep the collection together in the new Seattle University Museum of Art, which will have a profound and lasting impact on students and faculty.”

  • Rashid Johnson: Seascape “Jitter Bug”, 2022, oil on linen, 72 by 96 1/8 by 1 5/8 inches.
    Image Credit: © Rashid Johnson. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo Stephanie Powell

    Rashid Johnson, Seascape “Jitter Bug”, 2022.

  • Jacopo Carruci Pontormo: Portrait of Francesca Capponi as St. Mary Magdalen, 1527–28, oil on panel, 19 3/4 by 14 7/8 inches.
    Image Credit: Courtesy Richard Hedreen

    Jacopo Carucci Pontormo, Portrait of Francesca Capponi as St. Mary Magdalen, 1527–28.

  • Gustav Courbet: Le Moulin, 1874/6, oil on canvas, 28 3/4 by 39 1/2 inches.
    Image Credit: Courtesy Richard Hedreen

    Gustav Courbet, Le Moulin, 1874/76.

  • Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun: Portrait of the Duc de Riviere, 1828, oil on canvas, 28 7/8 by 23 5/8 inches.
    Image Credit: Courtesy Richard Hedreen

    Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, Portrait of the Duc de Riviere, 1828.

  • Cecily Brown: Untitled (Shipwreck), 2017, oil on linen, 97 by 151 inches.
    Image Credit: © Cecily Brown. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo Genevieve Hanson

    Cecily Brown, Untitled (Shipwreck), 2017.

  • Amy Sherald: The Make- Believer (Monet’s Garden), 2016, oil on canvas, 54 by 43 inches.
    Image Credit: © Amy Sherald. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo Joseph Hyde

    Amy Sherald, The Make-Believer (Monet’s Garden), 2016.

  • Roy Lichtenstein: Reflections on
    Image Credit: © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

    Roy Lichtenstein, Reflections on “Painter and Model”, 1990.

  • Jacopo Carruci Pontormo: Portrait of Cosimo I De
    Image Credit: Courtesy Richard Hedreen

    Jacopo Carucci Pontormo, Portrait of Cosimo I De’Medici, 1537.

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