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The Art of Collecting: The Luther W. Brady Bequest

July 8, 2023 through January 7, 2024


Luther W. Brady of Philadelphia has been an extraordinary friend of the Reading Public Museum. His generosity has spanned more than two decades and his gift giving ranks him among The Museum’s most devoted patrons. In celebration of his recent, landmark bequest of more than 100 works of art, RPM will host The Luther Brady Bequest on view in the Jerome I. Marcus American Gallery and the Irvin and Lois Cohen Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art from July 8, 2023 through January 7, 2024.

Dr. Brady, a world-renowned radiation oncologist was an avid supporter of the visual and performing arts. He served two terms on The Museum’s board and was a member of RPM’s Collections Committee. Dr. Brady was also an Emeritus Board Member of the Santa Fe Opera, served on the Board at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC, and was a member the Collections Committees at the Philadelphia Museum of Art — where he also endowed the Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art — and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His first gift to RPM came in 2002 and since that time, he has donated a large group of artworks ranging from ancient South- and Central-American pottery, to North-American Indian objects, to modern and contemporary American and British painting and sculpture. In 2006, a gift of more than forty Pre-Columbian works was given as part of The Museum’s renovation and reinstallation of the Latin American Gallery.

His true passion, however, was for modern and contemporary art, especially works by members of the Abstract Expressionist School, which emerged in New York in the 1940s and 50s, and their followers. The Brady gift transforms The Museum’s collection of twentieth-century art in immeasurable ways. Paintings by Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Esteban Vicente, Friedel Dzubas and Kenzo Okada will take center stage in the exhibition. Works by important American modernists Jules Olitski, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson, George Segal, Larry Poons, and Nancy Graves will be explored. A smaller, but important, group of works by British artists includes examples by Henry Moore, Lynn Chadwick, Howard Hodgkin, and Antony Gormley. The wide-ranging exhibit also examines works by important Native American modernists Fritz Scholder and Kevin Red Star, and paintings by Paul Pletka, who heroicizes indigenous peoples in his work. Philadelphia-based artists, with whom he formed lasting friendships such as Liz Osborne, Thomas Chimes, Edna Andrade, Murray Dessner, Diane Burko, David Fertig, and Jimmy Leuders, among others, also form part of the focus of the current exhibition.

For more than a century, bequests such as Dr. Brady’s have been instrumental to building RPM’s permanent collection. Gifts have enriched our visitors’ experiences and have established The Museum as an important repository of historic and contemporary art and artefacts from across the globe. If you have questions about Planned Giving and Estate Planning, please contact RPM to preserve your legacy.




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