Family Bequeaths Valuable Art Collection to UW

November 14, 2012
Man smiling
E.G. “Gerry” Meyer

The University of Wyoming Art Museum will receive one of the most significant gifts in its history from a longtime UW faculty member and administrator.

E.G. “Gerry” Meyer and his family have bequeathed a significant portion of their primarily Western American art collection -- valued at about $3.8 million -- to the UW Art Museum. The collection of more than 50 paintings, sculptures and drawings includes original works by well-known artist such as Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, Joseph Sharp, William Gollings, Thomas Moran, John Clymer, Edward Borein, George Inness and Marc Chagall.

“We’re so grateful to the Meyer family for their remarkable gift,” UW President Tom Buchanan says. “Gerry has been a major contributor to the university and the community in a variety of capacities for many years, and this bequest is an amazing capstone to a career of service to UW and the state.”

UW Art Museum Director Susan Moldenhauer says the museum’s existing collection does not include a strong representation of Western art, so the works from the Meyers will “fill a gap in our collection -- something we’re very excited about,” she says.

“This is a collection of considerable size and value,” Moldenhauer says. “We feel so fortunate that it will find a home here at UW.”

Meyer, a professor emeritus of chemistry, has had a long UW career that included serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as the university’s first vice president for research. The family’s art collection was started by his grandmother, Anna Ilfeld, an early patron of the famed Taos artists of New Mexico. Over the years, the Meyers added to that collection.

“I’m a chemist and chemical engineer but, believe it or not, chemists think about a lot of things. One of the things I think about is art,” Meyer says. “It will be 50 years next July that I arrived on the campus of UW, and we’ve just decided this is something we want to leave to the university.”

The Meyers have asked that the works be retained as a collection, but that it not be static. In other words, while a number of pieces have been designated to stay at UW, the Art Museum will have the authority to sell some other pieces to allow for purchases to add to the collection.

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