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backstory50: The Promised Gift

Do you know which work of art was the very first to enter the Museum’s collection? 

It was Milton Avery’s Sunday Riders. And while you might think, well, 2024 minus 50 equals 1974, so that’s when it entered into the collection (that is if you were actually thinking that hard about it) it actually entered the collection in 1969. It was part of a promised gift of 300 paintings and sculptures that our founding patron, Roy R. Neuberger, designated as promised gifts in order to found the Museum five years before the building itself opened to the public.

On January 24th we will open an exhibition about that promised gift featuring as many of them as we could possibly squeeze into our West Gallery. So make sure to stop by to see how it all started!

Today’s 50th anniversary thank-you goes to Roy R. Neuberger, posthumously, for his vision to create a world-class museum on a public college campus. We at the Neuberger, alongside all those who came before us, aspire every day to be true to the commitment he made, so long ago, to educating generations of students through art.

Tracy Fitzpatrick
Director, Neuberger Museum of Art

Orange square with a white border and large numbers 50 with small letters neu overlapping the top of the 5 and the word Years beneath

Watch for a new backstory every Wednesday and follow us on social media as we share stories about the Museum’s history, our evolution to the present day, and look ahead to our exciting future. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and “NEU 50 Years” updates on our anniversary webpage.