CLEVELAND (August 27, 2013) – The Cleveland Museum of Art announces a $100,000 gift from Mr. Robert P. Madison, a Cleveland architect and entrepreneur, to create an endowment fund in memory of his wife, Leatrice Madison. The Robert P. Madison Family in Memory of Leatrice B. Madison Endowment Fund supports an annual public lectureship on African or African-American Art. The family’s visionary gift enables understanding of the African-American community’s rich and valuable heritage for future generations and pays tribute to Mrs. Madison, who was highly supportive of the seminal exhibition African Traditions in Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts, organized by the museum in 1978.
“My family and I are delighted to honor my wife by establishing The Robert P. Madison Family in Memory of Leatrice B. Madison Endowment Fund,” said Robert P. Madison. “The annual lectures on African or African-American Art will be presented at the majestic Cleveland Museum of Art for all times.”
The museum’s African and African-American collections have recently grown in international stature through major acquisitions. Recently, the African art collection has expanded through the addition of 39 objects, and these seminal works were originally a part of the Delenne Collection of Congo Sculpture in Belgium. This fall’s exhibition, Fragments of the Invisible (October 27, 2013-February 9, 2014), presents this collection for the first time to Cleveland audiences. The American art collection was enriched by the 2011 acquisition of Indian Combat (1868), a major marble sculpture by the African-American artist Edmonia Lewis, who studied in Oberlin and became the first non-white American artist to achieve significant international fame. This work is truly noteworthy for its rarity and quality.
“The Cleveland Museum of Art is committed to the advancement and showcase of works by African and African-American artists,” said David Franklin, Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Through this gift by Robert Madison, we will be able to share the museum’s significant collection as well as the innovative scholarship developed by our curators with the public. We are deeply flattered that Mr. Madison chose to support our efforts through this endowment.”
The Robert P. Madison Family in Memory of Leatrice B. Madison Endowment Fund supports an annual public lecture that educates the community about the importance of these permanent museum collections and may explore themes for future exhibitions and scholarship. The first lecture will occur in the 2014/2015 programming year.