Major Gift of African, Indonesian, and Native American Art to the Stanford University Museum of Art

Contact: Mona Duggan, Associate Director/Director of External Relations, 650-725-4240

Collectors Ruth and Marc Franklin have donated major sculptures from their distinguished collection to the Stanford Museum. The gift includes twenty-three pieces from west and central Africa, one Nootka figure from British Columbia, three Okvik (ancient Eskimo) ivory carvings made about 2,000 years ago and three figures and a mask from Indonesia. "This gift adds many objects of great quality and interest to the Museum's collection," stated Thomas K. Seligman, the John and Jill Freidenrich Director, who is a specialist in African art. "The Franklins have a very close association with Stanford, where Marc has been a professor of Law since 1962 and Ruth is Curator of the Art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the Museum. This gift continues their generosity to the University and significantly enriches the Museum's collections."

Most of the twenty-three African pieces are masks and figures, among them a massive bellows and an exquisite Ngbaka harp in the form of a standing figure. Many of these are from the Republic of Congo. Other highlights include a polychrome Bwa mask from Burkina Faso more than four feet wide representing a hawk, an ancient terracotta head from northern Nigeria, a four-faced mask from the Fang people of Gabon, a very large and important standing female figure from the Mitsogho people of Gabon, and two culturally significant Luba pieces, also from the Republic of Congo.

This gift was made in anticipation of the reopening of the Museum in January 1999 as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Art, and many of the pieces are highlighted in the reinstallation. The Franklins have also clearly indicated that they intend to give further important works to the Museum in the coming years.

Dean of Humanities and Sciences John Shoven acknowledged the significance of the Franklins' generosity: "The Franklins' gift will add important teaching resources for the African Studies program, the new program on race and ethnicity, and the Anthropology and Art Departments. We are deeply grateful to the Franklins for their continued generosity."

Helmet mask with Four Faces, Fang People, Gabon, Africa
Helmet Mask with Four Faces
Fang people, Gabon, Africa