Donors Honor Retiring Director with Gifts of Art, Endowed Fund, and Gallery Naming

Stanford, Calif. — Dec. 14, 2011 — In a tribute to Thomas K. Seligman, the retiring director of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, 23 donors are giving 57 artworks to the Center, to be added to its comprehensive collection. Also to honor Seligman, more than 200 people contributed funds to support student engagement in the Cantor Arts Center’s Education Department, using new technologies to facilitate learning about art. In addition, the Center’s African gallery was named for him through a gift by Diane Christensen.

The artworks, given as outright and promised gifts in Seligman’s honor, include a Joseph Cornell box construction from the Marmor Foundation, a Nathan Oliveira collage from Burt and Deedee McMurtry and a hanging scroll by Huang Binhong from Sandy and Vinie Miller. Paintings include oil-on-canvas works by Richard Diebenkorn, from John and Jill Freidenrich, and by Wayne Thiebaud, from Susan and John Diekman. Fred and Marcia Rehmus commissioned Northwest Coast artist John Livingston to create a “Transformation Mask” for the occasion of Seligman’s retirement. Manuel Neri gave one of his own works from the “Mujer Pegada Series.” Michael Heymann and Deborah Port contributed a Yombe “Power Figure” from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Announcements of the gifts of art and “The Seligman Student Fund for Technology in Museum Education” were highlights of a festive retirement event for Seligman on Dec. 5, with 500 of his friends and family members and museum supporters attending. Docents at the Center—volunteers dedicated to enhancing visitors’ experience and understanding of art—spearheaded fund-raising efforts and raised $120,000 for the endowed fund to support technology in learning.

Stanford President John L. Hennessy was among the speakers at the December 5 event. Seligman was lauded for his accomplishments during his 20 years heading the museum, including the restoration of the historic 1891 building damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and expansion of the museum with the Halperin Family Wing, and the significant enrichment of the Center’s collections. The event’s food and entertainment reflected Seligman’s longstanding interests in African art and culture. Master Ghanaian drummer S. Kwaku Daddy, accompanied by his friends, performed a tribute to Seligman. Bombino, a Tuareg musician and a friend of the retiring director’s family, also performed.

Seligman, who is the John and Jill Freidenrich Director of the Cantor Arts Center through the end of 2011, will continue to work at Stanford as a senior consulting curator and colleague as he pursues his research interests in India and Africa.

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For interviews and publicity photographs, contact Anna Koster, Head of Communications, Cantor Arts Center: 650-725-4657,

John Livingston, Canada. Transformation Mask, 2011. Commissioned gift of Fred and Marcia Rehmus