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Sam Francis Untitled (Seafirst) 1979

Mint Launches Collections Initiative with Major Gift from Bank of America

October 29, 2013

Sam Francis painting is one of the most significant acquisitions donated to the museum

With a generous gift from Bank of America, The Mint Museum is launching a new Collections Initiative to strengthen the breadth and scope of art that the museum makes available to the global community.

The Mint Museum announced today that the bank is gifting to the museum a seminal painting by California artist Sam Francis, Untitled (Seafirst) 1979, from the Bank of America Collection. The painting is one of the largest by size – at approximately 19 feet tall by 38 feet wide – and one of the most significant works to enter the museum’s collection.

“The Mint is deeply grateful to Bank of America not only for this specific painting, which is an incredible gift on its own, but also for the opportunity to highlight to the community our new initiative to target and acquire works of art that will continue to elevate the Mint’s stature in the national and international arena,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “This historic occasion serves as the catalyst to spur dynamic growth of the Mint’s exceptional collection of international art and design.”

The painting has been hanging in the Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium of Mint Museum Uptown on long-term loan since the building first opened to the public in October 2010, and is one of the first works of art viewed by visitors entering the museum.

“We’re honored to partner with The Mint Museum to launch their new collection drive by donating the Sam Francis painting from the Bank of America Collection, as it adds another world-renowned piece of art to a permanent collection here in Charlotte,” said Charles Bowman, North Carolina and Charlotte president, Bank of America. “The arts play a vital role in Charlotte’s cultural identity and economy and we’re hopeful that our gift encourages other businesses and individuals to donate to the museum’s collection.”

This is not the first time that the bank has donated art to the Mint Museum. In 1978 the bank donated Il Grande Disco by Arnaldo Pomodoro, which remains on view at the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets in uptown Charlotte as part of the Mint’s public art program, and in 2002 it donated six paintings by renowned Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden. 

The Mint’s Collections Initiative seeks to empower the museum’s invested donors, affiliate groups, committees, boards, trustees, and new patrons to give and seek out major examples of art, craft, and design for the museum’s collection. The initiative will remain a key institutional focus through fall 2016, culminating in the publication of  a major publication on the museum’s exceptional permanent collection celebrating the landmark 80th anniversary of North Carolina’s first art museum. The Mint will celebrate new acquisitions with a local, national, and international public relations and marketing campaign.

The Sam Francis gift sets an appropriate stage for the types of works of art that the museum is targeting for future acquisitions. “Sam Francis’s monumental painting is a tremendously important addition to the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art; one that animates the atrium in an utterly dynamic fashion,” said Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art. “Untitled (Seafirst) 1979 demonstrates the artist’s commitment to new forms of abstraction and allows the museum to share with its visitors the impact of two key artistic movements of the 20th century – Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism – something that was not previously possible.”

California-born abstract expressionist Sam Francis (1923–1994) was one of the 20th century’s leading interpreters of light and color. Francis maintained studios in Bern, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, making him the first post-World War II American painter whose reach was truly international. Throughout a long and prolific career, Francis created thousands of paintings as well as works on paper, prints, and monotypes. His work holds references to New York abstract expressionism, color field painting, Chinese and Japanese art, French impressionism, and his own Bay Area roots.

As Mint curators and other staff have been developing the initiative in recent months, one local foundation has responded by providing another generous major acquisition to the museum, which will be announced soon.

“This initiative will serve to build the cultural assets of this community, better enabling us to drive and support education, audience engagement, tourism, and economic development for the region,” Jameson said. “We welcome the entire community to join us in enhancing our collections and preserving them for generations to come.”

Members of the media are invited to the atrium of Mint Museum Uptown, 500 South Tryon Street, today between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. to interview Jameson, Bowman, and other officials from the museum and Bank of America, as well as to photograph the Francis painting. High-resolution images and video of the painting are available upon request. RSVP to leigh.dyer@mintmuseum.org.

Above image credit: Sam Francis (American, 1923-1994). Untitled (Seafirst) 1979. Acrylic on canvas. Generously donated by Bank of America Corporation. Photo courtesy of The Mint Museum. © 2013 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), NY.



About Bank of America

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