In December 2020, Peter Leicht and Derrick Strobl of Columbus fulfilled a lifelong dream by donating five prints by Stanley William Hayter, Nina Negri, and Allan D’Arcangelo to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
What was your first experience with the Cleveland Museum of Art? Peter: The summer before college, I read a book about art history. I wanted to see the art that I had read about, so I visited the CMA. It was then that I fell in love with art.
Derrick: I first visited the museum as a kid and loved the Egyptian coffins and armor court. Today, we visit the CMA to feel connected to different times, places, and cultures from around the world. The amazingly diverse, encyclopedic collection brings us back again and again.
How did your interest in collecting prints begin? Peter: Several years ago, prompted by a desire to live with a work of art that reflected our beliefs, we discovered Peace Portfolio I from 1970. The purpose of the portfolio’s creation was to raise funds for congressional candidates who promoted peace and who supported social and racial justice in the United States. We ended up purchasing four prints from the series, including those by Allan D’Arcangelo and Stanley William Hayter. Using the Ingalls Library at the CMA, I began to research both artists in depth.
Hayter’s long history of addressing antiwar subject matter particularly interested me. Some of his prints dealt with the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. Mark Cole’s 2017 exhibition Cutting Edge: Modern Prints from Atelier 17 at the CMA opened my eyes to the vast network of artists that Hayter inspired. In his studios, women artists were treated as equals, which was unusual at the time. The exhibition included wonderful examples of prints by women artists of Atelier 17, an experimental workshop for modernist printmakers during the mid-20th century, and it sparked our interest in collecting their works, such as Nuclear by Nina Negri.
In 2018, you contacted the CMA to encourage us to acquire an impression of Hayter’s print Maternity. Why did you think the museum should own this particular print? Peter:Cutting Edge included Hayter’s intaglio masterpiece Cinq Personnages, which is a promised gift to the museum. This powerful work commemorates the death of the artist’s first son, Patrick. I thought how terrific it would be if the CMA could also own an impression of Maternity, a print celebrating the birth of the artist’s second son, Augy. When I initially suggested that the museum acquire an impression of Maternity, I wouldn’t have imagined that Derrick and I would be the ones to acquire and donate it!
Why did you decide to gift these works of art to the CMA? Derrick: Peter was inspired by a gift of the Vase Bertin by the Sèvres Porcelain Factory made a number of years ago by Steven, Brian, Neil, and Darrell Young in memory of their parents, Mardelle J. and Howard S. Young (2007.277). We were very moved by this gift when we read about it, and we were inspired to give artworks to the museum in honor of our parents while they are still alive.
Peter: We realized that certain prints in our collection poignantly related to our own parents’ experiences. For example, both of our mothers would say that motherhood was an essential aspect of their lives, and Maternity depicts a mother holding her son. Just like Hayter, my father and his family immigrated to the United States due to the effects of World War II, and Cruelty of Insects directly addresses the horrors of that conflict. We wanted to give these prints to show our love and appreciation to our parents for all the support they have given us over the years.