A Family Affair


Essays on Modern and Contemporary Art from the Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Modern and Contemporary American Art

from the Anderson Collection at Stanford University



Jason Linetzky



John L. Hennessy

President’s Statement


Harry W. Anderson, Mary Margaret Anderson,

Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, and Devin

Diane Pence

A Statement from the Anderson Family



Molly S. Hutton

The Campus Connection:

The Anderson Family and

Stanford Ties


Evelyn C. Hankins

Where We Work Together to

Build Something


David Cateforis

Surface and Depth:

Notes on Painting and Sculpture

in the Anderson Collection at

Stanford University





John Seed

Setting the Stage for Insight:

Nathan Oliveira’s Road to Stanford


Alexander Nemerov

Magic Breakthrough:

William Faulkner and Jackson

Pollock in 1947–48


Branden W. Joseph

Symbolism Is a Difficult Idea:

Franz Kline’s Figure 8


Rachel Teagle

In the Shadows:

Robert Irwin’s Disc Paintings


Carolyn Kastner

Susan Rothenberg’s Unruly Figures


Gwen Allen

Martin Puryear’s Tactile Meaning


Karen M. Rapp

Just to Mention a Few:

The Bewildering World of

William T. Wiley


Karen Saracino

The Building of a Collection: A Chronology


Richard M. Olcott

Architect’s Statement


Anderson Collection Exhibitions


Checklist of the Anderson Collection at

Stanford University


Nancy J. Troy










The extraordinary story of the Anderson Collection begins with a visit

to the Louvre in 1964. It was autumn, and Hunk and Moo were finishing

the “around the world” trip they rewarded themselves with

shortly after settling into their new life in California. Museums had

not been the focus of their travels, but having a genuine curiosity they

decided to give themselves one day to explore the great museums

of Paris. Never did they imagine the influence this visit would have

on their family, or how viewing the Nike of Samothrace atop the

Louvre’s grand stairs and the French Impressionist galleries would

change their lives forever. Seeing the collection was a transformative

experience, as illustrated by Moo’s standing joke: “Art was someone

we played tennis or golf with prior to this trip.” As the Anderson

Collection attests today, there was no looking back once Hunk and

Moo decided, while flying home to California, to begin collecting and

add to their lives something they had just discovered was missing.

Upon returning home, the family found early inspiration from

a myriad of sources; the earliest were art dealers in San Francisco

who shared an excitement for the French Impressionists and introduced

works by American artists the Andersons found accessible.

The first paintings acquired, two on the same day in 1965, left

lasting impressions on the young collectors who, to this day, warmheartedly

debate which work was truly “the first”—Frederick

Fieseke’s Unraveling Silk (c. 1915) or Alfred Cornelius Howland’s

Fourth of July Parade (c. 1886)—acquired from the Maxwell and

Bill A. Pearson galleries, respectively.

From here, with the guidance of two prominent Stanford

University professors—Albert E. Elsen and Nathan Oliveira—as

well as Henry Sayles Francis, a retired curator from the Cleveland

Museum of Art, and Helen Heninger, who developed the Andersons’

first working collection plan, the Andersons took their journey of

discovery to New York. They wooed the great collectors and dealers—namely

Eugene V. Thaw, Joseph Hazen, and William Rubin

—and frequented the galleries of Martha Jackson, Robert Elkon,

Leo Castelli, and David McKee, among others. Simultane ously,

back in California they opened their sights on Hansen Fuller, Reese

Palley, Felix Landau, Quay Gallery, and later the new galleries of

Paule Anglim and John Berggruen. These burgeoning relationships

became critical to the education and evolution of the Andersons’

collective eye, allowing them to gain key insights into connoisseurship

and the creative process and a keen sense of what “spoke”

to them.

Five decades later, we now celebrate the achievements of a

remarkable family who took their inspiration to a place they never

expected, and to a level few could have imagined possible. As the

following essays attest, the family’s shared passion for people,

education, and quality propelled them into an unknown territory

they were determined to understand. The Andersons developed

and refined their vision with countless visits to museums, galleries,

auctions, and artist studios, ultimately assembling one of the finest

modern and contemporary American art collections of the twentieth


century. Lasting relationships were formed and maintained, and

the individual artworks collected came to be understood as both

extensions of the family and integral components of the home.

Sharing private, domestic spaces, the works cohabited with the

Andersons; Jackson Pollock’s Lucifer (1947) replaced a Renoir over

their daughter’s bed upon acquisition from Joseph Hazen and

remained there throughout her teenage years.

Out of this passion and love of living with art came a desire to

share the collection. They opened their home to friends, colleagues,

students, and museum groups and began lending works

to exhibitions across the country. In 1971 Elsen organized the first

exhibition focusing entirely on their collection for the Stanford

University Museum of Art. As their collection grew, so did their

relationships with other institutions, in particular the San Francisco

Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San

Francisco. The Andersons have often expressed their gratitude for

the early support of so many individuals and institutions, and how

hopeful they were that by making their collection available, others

would be encouraged to do the same.

It’s now been half a century since Hunk and Moo Anderson,

later joined by daughter Putter Anderson Pence, started viewing,

learning about, and breathing art as a family. Stanford University

is honored to be marking this momentous anniversary with the

opening of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, a

twenty-first-century home designed by Ennead Architects for

the family’s transformative gift of 121 modern and contemporary

American paintings and sculpture. Our program builds upon the

family’s legacy by facilitating multidisciplinary academic and

community engagement through exhibitions, digital interpretation,

member programs, tours, internships, access to the resource

library, and more.

As collection manager for the Anderson family over the last

ten years and now as the first director of the Anderson Collection

at Stanford University, my close involvement with the Andersons

has been a tremendous pleasure and privilege. I have received

countless lessons about art and people, and what it means to care

for a collection as you would your family. It is a great joy to be

guiding this gift into its museum context; I am honored with the

extraordinary opportunity to share these works, and their connection

to the Andersons, with the world.

We welcome and encourage visitors of all ages to start your

own journey of discovery by engaging creatively with the collection

as it begins its new chapter. The arts are an essential component

of any education, and it is our goal to make the Anderson Collection

at Stanford University accessible to all. We can’t wait for you to

become an integral part of the adventure.


Director, Anderson Collection at Stanford University



When Leland and Jane Stanford founded our university in 1885,

their goal was to create a new kind of educational institution. In

the American West, far from the established schools of the East

Coast, they set out to build a place of learning that was decidedly

modern: co-educational and non-denominational from the start,

innovative and practical in its curriculum, and accessible to students

from all walks of life. The Stanfords dedicated the university

to “exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization,”

and they specifically cited art galleries as one of the elements that

should be included. Leland Stanford reflected on the importance

of stimulating creativity and imagination when he said, “The imagination

needs to be cultivated and developed to assure success in

life. A man will not construct anything he cannot conceive.”

When the Andersons began to acquire the works of art that

would eventually comprise their superb private collection, they

focused on the modern. They were drawn to artists not bound by

convention. These artists were pioneers, challenging the status

quo and giving voice to novel ways of thinking about the individ ual

and society in post–World War II America. As the Andersons considered

what to add to their collection, they asked themselves two

questions: “Have I seen it before?” and “Could I have thought of it?”

The Andersons’ collection, then, is a mirror of Stanford’s own

institutional values, of its commitment to innovation and its appreciation

of creativity. We are tremendously proud to welcome the

core of the Anderson Collection to our campus and to showcase

the exceptional modern and contemporary works in a specially

designed building that will allow our faculty, students, staff, and

general public to fully appreciate their quality and histori cal


The Andersons’ extraordinary gift is an important milestone

for Stanford and for our Arts Initiative. Launched in 2006, the

initiative is raising the university’s level of excellence in the arts

and making the arts more pervasive in the life of our university and

the surrounding community. It has its roots in the conviction that

the arts play a critical role in our academic mission. Engagement

in the arts broadens perspectives, stimulates the imagination, and

inspires creative thinking. Cultivating these qualities is vital to

Stanford’s ability to prepare students for leadership in a complex,

global society.

Certainly the most visible manifestation of the Arts Initiative is

the emergence of an arts district, of which the Anderson Collection

at Stanford University is a key feature. Located just off the historic

Palm Drive as you enter campus, it makes a strong statement about

the importance of the arts to the university. Along with the Anderson

Collection building, the arts district includes Bing Concert Hall

(opened in 2013), a visually and acoustically stunning 842-seat

performance venue; the McMurtry Building for Art and Art History

(opening in 2015), which will unite almost all the programs of that

department under one roof for the first time; and the landmark

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. These facilities,


together with the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery, Memorial

Auditorium, and Frost Amphitheater, create a dynamic new arts


The opening of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University

elevates the university’s position as a center for arts education and

appreciation. The collection’s focus on modern and contemporary

American art harmonizes with Stanford’s relative youth as a university

and its avowedly American roots and traditions. We look

forward to the lasting impact that the Anderson Collection at

Stanford University will make as a teaching tool, as a resource for

academic research, and as a treasure to be enjoyed by visitors from

far and near.

In 1899, in an address to the trustees of the university, Jane

Stanford wrote: “The Board shall designate one day in each week

when the students at the University may visit the Museum free of

charge. All other persons must pay an admission fee of a quarter

of a dollar for each admission except the President, Vice President,

and members of the faculty and their families, and the Trustees

and their families.” To keep pace with inflation that twenty-fivecent

charge would need to be about seven dollars today, and if we

adjust for the enhanced experience offered with the wonderful

addition of the Anderson Collection, we could easily charge

double that! Happily, I can report that the Anderson Collection at

Stanford University, like the Cantor Arts Center, is free of charge

for all visitors.

As an exciting new era in the arts unfolds at Stanford, I want

to underscore the university’s—and my own—profound gratitude

to Hunk and Moo Anderson, their daughter Putter Anderson

Pence, and their granddaughter, Devin Diane Pence, for this

transformative gift. We are honored to steward these treasures for

the enjoyment of the current generation and for “our children’s

children’s children.”


President, Stanford University




We would like to thank Stanford University for helping us realize

one of the most important goals of our life together—to enhance

the human experience and make the world a grain of salt better

because we have been here.

Of course this would not have been possible without the

art ists represented in the collection, their creativity, and their

introduction of new ideas within the context of visual expression.

Art gave us a new purpose and the opportunity to give back to

future generations.

We also thank Saga, the food service company founded by

Hunk Anderson and his two partners, Bill Laughlin and Bill Scandling,

in 1948. Its success provided us with the financial ability to collect

art. More importantly, it promoted the “Saga Way”: the philosophy

of treating others like you’d like to be treated yourself.

For decades, collecting art has been a family affair. To us, this

gift embodies a cumulation of memories. We appreciate all who

have helped us along the way, including dealers, scholars, museum

directors, curators, friends, critics, and other collectors.

We hope this gift to Stanford makes a great university that

much greater. We look forward to sharing the collection with the






June 2014

Hunk and Moo at the kitchen table,

Anderson residence, 2013













If collecting was a “family affair,” as Harry W. (“Hunk”) Anderson

likes to call it, it was a domestic activity that also involved a unique

extended family—the community of nearby Stanford University.

Indeed, the Anderson family’s ties to the university run long and

deep, despite the fact that neither Hunk nor Mary Margaret

(“Moo”) Anderson, nor daughter Mary Patricia (“Putter”) Anderson

Pence, ever matriculated as a Stanford student (fig. 1). Over the

past fifty years, however, many vital relationships developed

between the collecting family and the university community, all of

which contributed to the family’s decision to gift 121 masterworks

of modern and contemporary American art to the institution.

After moving to the Bay Area in the early 1960s, it didn’t take

long for the couple to begin to forge associations with various

segments of the university community, beginning with personal

friendships with art history professor Albert E. (“Al”) Elsen, faculty

artist Nathan Oliveira, and Stanford Museum director and art

department chair Lorenz Eitner. Over the years the Andersons built

upon these formative relationships, developing a network of campus

connections extending to the law school, the hospital, and,

importantly, to numerous students of the Art and Art History

department (formerly the art department). Wanda M. Corn, Robert

and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History, asserts that

she has “never known a private collector who wanted to share” as

much as the Andersons do. 1 It is this generosity of spirit and the

family’s “lack of pretension,” as Corn describes it, that has enabled

the collectors to touch the lives of so many individuals affiliated

with the university.

It was not merely fate that the Andersons chose to reside next

door to Stanford. “Moo and I have lived on or at or close to a college

or university all of our lives, and it was kind of a natural for us” 2 to

find a home near the university, notes Hunk. Much of the couple’s

early life together was spent traveling between their two college

campuses in upstate New York—Hobart College in Geneva (his)

and D’Youville College in Buffalo (hers). In 1948, Hunk and two

fellow student entrepreneurs founded Saga, what would become

a multi-billion-dollar food-service corporation, on the Hobart

College campus. And while Saga began to grow and new company

accounts were established, Hunk and Moo spent eight years

living a few blocks from the Oberlin College campus in Ohio (after

“one great summer” 3 in South Bend, Indiana, where Hunk set up

Saga services in the cafeteria at St. Mary’s College) before finally

coming west to Atherton, California, in 1962. It was that type of

environment—a campus community—that Hunk and his business

partners at Saga attempted to re-create when they consolidated

operations and relocated company headquarters to Sand Hill Road

in Menlo Park, “right across the street from Stanford” (fig. 2).

Setting up shop in such close proximity to Stanford was also a

calculated move by the company founders as it offered “resources

of people” from which the company could draw: a pool of highly

educated potential employees and outside consultants. Several

Figure 1

Hunk Anderson, Putter Anderson Pence, and

Moo Anderson with Franz Kline’s Figure 8 (1952)

and Mark Rothko’s Pink and White over Red

(1957) at the Andersons’ home, 2011



2 3

important corporate advisors and members of the Saga board of

directors came from the Stanford ranks, including Alf Brandin,

former vice president for business affairs; Bob Davis, former marketing

professor; and Stanford MBA and businessman John Lillie.

For the Andersons, however, as word got around that they were

interested in art and in putting together a private collection, it would

be members of the Stanford arts community who helped to forge

a long-term relationship between the family and the university.



The Andersons’ collecting adventures began in 1964, when a visit

to the Louvre in Paris sparked their interest in modern art: in particular,

the luminous works of the French Impressionists. Without

much money in the bank, however, it was nearly impossible to buy

quality Impressionist paintings. Nevertheless, the Andersons

managed to find and purchase a few representative works by

such artists as Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir. New financial freedom

gained when Saga went public in 1968 allowed the novice collectors

to begin acquiring in earnest, and they broadened their

collecting efforts to include works of American modernism in

addition to Impressionism. Although the couple had no formal

background in art history, their shared enthusiasm for new aesthetic

experiences and their natural eye for quality prompted them

to seek out the best works they could find by artists in whom they

were interested. Yet they found that putting together a high- caliber

collection of Impressionist and modernist art was both daunting

and complex, and financially straining to boot. In retrospect, says

Hunk, it is “difficult to imagine we could get to the place we are at

today considering our beginnings.” But as he likes to say, “we didn’t

know it couldn’t be done, so we just went ahead and did it.”

Although purchasing decisions were always made by Hunk

and Moo as a team—in later years Putter would be influential—as

entry-level collectors the Andersons saw fit to enlist the input of

several individuals. 4 But it wasn’t until they met Stanford art history

professor Al Elsen around 1968 that they really began to focus the

collection. According to Hunk, Elsen was “like a sponge,” and was

interested in anyone who desired to be a patron of the arts at a

time when few in the Bay Area were collecting works of modern

and contemporary artists. As part of his ambition to build a community

of arts-interested individuals in the area, Elsen cultivated

a close relationship with the Andersons that would last until his

death in 1995. 5 He and Patty, his first wife, became an integral part

of the Andersons’ social circle (fig. 3); with them they inaugurated a

regular potluck “supper group” whose members included Stanford

painters Nathan Oliveira, Frank Lobdell, and Keith Boyle and their

wives as well as Palo Alto gallery owners Paula and Phillip Kirkeby.

The Andersons remember these gatherings warmly—each one

Figure 2

Saga partners William P. Laughlin, William F.

Scandling, and Hunk at Saga headquarters,

Menlo Park, California, 1971

Figure 3

Hunk, Patty Elsen, Moo, and Al Elsen,

Herfordshire, England, 1971




was “a nifty little affair,” according to Hunk. The result of these small

parties, says Moo, was a closeness based upon the group’s shared

interest in seeing the arts and collecting flourish in the area.

Since the Andersons’ interest in art was self-generated, rather

than the result of growing up in a family of collectors, Elsen invited

the Andersons to audit his thematically organized art history survey

course, Purposes of Art, to learn more about the field. Moo

regularly sat in on the class, and Hunk attended as his busy work

schedule allowed. It was an “exciting experience,” according to

Hunk, that both “blossomed our interest” and “confounded us.”

Says Moo of her position as an adult auditor: “I didn’t know any

more than the freshmen did—and that was OK.” 6 Elsen’s practice

of bringing together for analysis works of art from the past with

those of modern and contemporary artists proved illuminating for

both of the Andersons. As Hunk notes, “we were also like sponges.”

The more they listened and learned, the more involved in the art

world they became. “Hunk and I listened a lot. We didn’t know

anything!” says Moo. 7

Elsen (fig. 4) was one of the foremost scholars on French sculptor

Auguste Rodin, but his expertise ranged far and wide and his

counsel helped focus the Andersons’ collecting vision on Abstract

Expressionism; Hunk remembers him billing it as the first great

international art movement. Perhaps more importantly, the art

market was such that it was still possible (although by no means

inexpensive) to acquire significant works by Abstract Expressionist

artists, whereas Impressionist works rarely appeared on the secondary

market. And when Impressionist works did appear, they

were not always first-rate. According to Hunk, “Al was very qualityinterested,”

a preoccupation that was in line with the Andersons’

own desire to build a museum-quality collection. To this end, Elsen

introduced them to artists, dealers, and curators, both local and

from the more prestigious New York art scene (including William

Rubin of the Museum of Modern Art [MOMA] and erudite collector

and dealer Eugene V. Thaw). These contacts helped facilitate the

couple’s acquisitions of masterworks by artists such as Jackson

Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

But it was Elsen himself as a connoisseur, along with fellow art

department colleague Oliveira, who would most frequently offer

opinions on the ongoing quality and makeup of the collection.

More than once Elsen’s simply stated “I think you could do better”

prompted the Andersons to take a second look at a recent acquisition.

For instance, as Hunk recounts, when Elsen came to view

a Pollock painting the couple had just acquired (Number 23, 1951

[Frogman], 1951, now owned by the Chrysler Museum of Art) and

were quite proud of, he asked, “Hunk, have you seen the black

[Pollock] painting that’s at New York MOMA?” When Hunk replied

no, Elsen suggested they “go there, see it, and sell” their Pollock,

which they in time did. “It’s really about wanting the best of the

best,” says Hunk, and Elsen helped them develop an eye for what

was not only good, but great.

Figure 4

Al Elsen, 1993




At around the same time the Andersons met Elsen, they were

also introduced to Stanford art professor and acclaimed Bay Area

Figurative painter and master printmaker Oliveira (fig. 5). 8 Oliveira

had arrived at Stanford in 1965, brought in, as was Elsen, by forwardthinking

art department chair (and Stanford Museum director)

Lorenz Eitner. Oliveira’s national reputation had been growing

steadily since the late 1950s, when his inclusion in curator Peter

Selz’s infamous 1959 exhibition New Images of Man at MOMA

convincingly situated the young Bay Area artist amidst the likes of

Francis Bacon, de Kooning, and Pollock, among other accomplished

twentieth-century painters. With his success in New York

codified, Hunk considered Oliveira “a bright, shining light” in his

native California.

As part of the Elsen supper club, Oliveira was uniquely poised

to offer a different perspective on the Andersons’ collecting

strategies—that of a contemporary working artist. To that end,

he accompanied the collectors to local galleries and introduced

them to important dealers and artists, including painter Richard

Diebenkorn, a Stanford alumnus (BA, 1949) whose works had

also been included in New Images of Man. “Nate was one of

the premier instruments in getting us involved in [especially]

Bay Area art and Bay Area artists,” recalls Hunk, noting that

Oliveira was “very unselfish” about guiding them around the local

art scene. And it wasn’t long before the Andersons became

interested in collecting their new friend’s work, acquiring three

major paintings in 1969, all of which are included in the gift to

Stanford. 9

Like Elsen, Oliveira was not reticent in voicing his opinions.

When asked about the developing collection, he took the opportunity

to encourage the Andersons to expand their holdings of

works by important California artists (such as Diebenkorn, David

Park, and Peter Voulkos). As early as 1970, at Hunk’s request, he

provided “an assessment of the collection” including “revisions” to

“strengthen” what had already been assembled. 10 Oliveira recommended

acquisitions that would fill chronological or stylistic gaps

while acknowledging that his suggestions represented “the top

of the pyramid”—that is, significant works by acknowledged masters.

Oliveira’s instincts seem to have been in line with one of

Hunk’s oft-repeated phrases, “the best is none too good,” the artist

declaring that “we do agree, there is no other place to be” but at

the top collecting the best available works. Like Elsen, he also

encouraged a tighter aesthetic focus to “emphasize the personality”

of the collection. For instance, recognizing the Andersons’

ongoing interest in expressionism, the artist proposed the sacrifice

of two works by nineteenth-century American painter John Singer

Sargent in order to “support the identity that you are creating.” 11

With input from individuals such as Elsen and Oliveira, the

Andersons’ own shrewd instincts enabled them to operate successfully

in the complicated networks of the art market. By the

mid-1980s the Anderson Collection had become one of the premier

Figure 5


Nate Oliveira, Stanford 1982

(Ryan Lab Studio), 1982

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson





private collections of postwar American painting, sculpture, and

works on paper in the world. Aware of the status that the evolving

collection had taken on, and as a way to commemorate the strides

the family had made since the 1960s, in 1985 the Andersons came

up with a unique idea: to document photographically the over

one hundred still-living artists then represented in the Anderson

Collection. This was an almost impossible undertaking, given the

unpredictable personalities of some of the artists. The ideal photographer

for the job turned out to be Leo Holub, founder of the

Stanford art department’s photography program and at the time

recently retired. In 1973 Eitner had given the Andersons a portrait

of Diebenkorn by Holub, who had photographed the painter in

1963 while he was a visiting artist on campus (fig. 6). This helped

convince the Andersons a decade later to approach Holub about

the major portfolio of artist portraits. For the photographer—a

soft-spoken, gentle presence who made friends wherever he went

(fig. 7)—it was the opportunity of a lifetime: “all they had to do

was ask, and I started out on a ten-year journey.” 12

“It took somebody like a Leo Holub to gain access,” states

Hunk. He and Holub drafted letters to the artists requesting they

sit for portraits in their studios. According to Hunk, “There wasn’t

an artist who refused Leo,” although he suspects many might have

refused another photographer. “Marvelously, that letter—together

with Leo’s remarkable charm, wit, and grace—was all he needed

to gain access to the intimate working environment of a hundred

artists,” according to the Andersons. 13 The artist portfolio project

was an activity that the photographer counted as “a defining

experience—a high point—in his career.” 14 It also produced a deep

friendship between the Andersons (and Anderson Collection

staff) and Holub that would last until the photographer’s death

at age ninety-three in 2010. To this day, Hunk is amazed at what

his friend was able to achieve: “Who could have ever gotten to

take a photograph of Jasper Johns or Robert Rauschenberg at

that time? Nobody else could have.” Ultimately, Holub produced

two four-volume portfolios, together containing images of 105

artists. The relaxed portraits of artists in their personal working

environments are testaments to Holub’s signature ability to put

sitters at ease in front of the camera (as Frank Stella appears in

fig. 7). In the photographer’s honor, the Anderson family gifted to

Stanford in 2007 around six hundred of Holub’s working proofs

from the project.



The Andersons’ relationships with faculty members of the art

department often translated into contact with students themselves.

Elsen and Oliveira would regularly bring undergraduate

classes to tour the Anderson home. Similarly, after Wanda Corn

Figure 6


Richard Diebenkorn, Stanford 1963

(Visiting Artist), 1963

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

Figure 7


Leo Holub, Frank Stella NYC 1986, 1986

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson




joined the faculty in 1980, students in her courses on post–World

War II American art always had the opportunity to view the masterworks

and to chat with Hunk afterwards. According to Corn,

the Andersons “never hesitated” when she requested to bring her

students to their home: “They were so accommodating, they really

wanted to educate people” about the art and artists in their collection

and had the ability to communicate “the thrill and excitement

of living with art.” 15

And it was with students that the Andersons would develop

their most profound and longstanding relationship with the university.

In 1975, they established a program that brought MFA and

PhD students (and even a few undergraduates) from the Art and

Art History department into the collection to serve as interns.

Although the internship program was never formalized by the

department as an official opportunity, over the years thirty students

made their way to Menlo Park several days a week to help

with various collection activities. 16 Students worked first at what

was then the Saga campus. Later, in 1986, when the Marriott

Corporation bought the company and the buildings were purchased

by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Saga’s hilltop

complex was renamed Quadrus and transformed into a corporate

office park. 17 Despite the sale, Hunk retained his executive office

space in the 2440 building and, at the request of the foundation,

continued to install Anderson Collection works in public spaces

throughout the complex. The program would, over time, develop

into a unique training ground for future art historians and museum

curators. However, according to Hunk, the intern program was

simply “born out of necessity,” and interns found their way to the

collection either through faculty recommendation or other interns,

who suggested to their peers they pursue the opportunity.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, initiated by Moo’s purchase

of Diebenkorn’s print portfolio 41 Etchings Drypoints (1965) from

the Poindexter Gallery in New York, the Andersons began to

explore contemporary art by building a first-rate print collection.

After the Diebenkorn acquisitions, Hunk and Moo decided to

branch out and explore the field of Pop art; because they were

slow to warm to the Pop trend it made sense for them to begin

collecting multiples before delving into original works. As print

acquisitions by artists such as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and

Ellsworth Kelly grew (partially as a result of print subscriptions

purchased through Gemini GEL in Los Angeles), Hunk began

installing works throughout the workspaces at Saga (fig. 8). By

1975 he realized they needed someone to maintain the works,

which prompted the hiring of the first Stanford intern, graduate

student June Sobel (MFA, 1976).

Sobel was hired by Hunk on the recommendation of his friend

Keith Boyle, an artist who taught at Stanford from 1962 to 1988.

Now a professional illustrator and children’s book author, Sobel

remembers her time caring for the artworks at Saga and at

the Andersons’ home as “one of the highlights of my Stanford

Figure 8

Frank Stella prints (left) and Ronald Davis works

(right) installed at Saga headquarters, c. 1974



experience.” 18 Early interns were responsible for handling the

artworks at Saga, and their duties included cleaning, installing,

and transporting new print acquisitions to and from the framer.

The last job often took nerves of steel, since she was transporting

the valuable prints in the back of her 1974 Pinto; this car, she notes,

was “known to explode upon a rear impact.” 19 A practical complement

to what she was learning in the classroom on campus, at

Saga Sobel was able to develop “a razor sharp eye for hanging

pictures” and “learned to appreciate the importance of quality

framing for the archival preservation of artwork.” Both of these

fundamentals of art-making practices are often overlooked in

studio-art graduate training programs. 20

As the collection grew, first at Saga and later at Quadrus,

interns became increasingly involved in educational outreach,

giving tours to employees and visitors, conducting lunchtime

“brown bag” lectures, and writing wall labels and informational

brochures to highlight artworks and artists featured through -

out the complex. Always proponents of collection sharing, the

Andersons strove to make their private collection as public as

possible, offering regularly scheduled tours to the community at

Quadrus while necessarily limiting access to their home to more

infrequent visits by specifically arts-interested groups. Most

Quadrus tours were written and conducted by student interns,

who were given the freedom to design their presentations with

their own interests or areas of expertise in mind. Tours of the

Anderson house would often conclude with the participation of

Hunk or Moo during informal question and answer sessions, a

practice continued to this day.

From the beginning, Anderson Collection interns were exposed

to the more “private” aspects of the collection—namely, the original

masterpieces hanging in the Andersons’ own home. For many, the

opportunity to view museum-quality works of art installed in an

unpretentious residential setting was revelatory and served as a

pointed reminder of one of the ways in which art was meant to be

experienced: as part of one’s everyday environment. Access to this

privileged part of the collection was granted regularly by the

Andersons, and interns quickly learned the route from Sand Hill

Road to “the house.” According to former intern John Seed (BA,

1979), who worked at the collection as an undergraduate in the late

1970s, “Experiencing great works of art in a private home—and

seeing a family live with those works—was a rare and special privilege.”

21 For Seed, who is now a professor of art at Mt. San Jacinto

College in Southern California: “In the Anderson’s home I always

felt welcomed—both by the Andersons and the works of art.” 22

To Neal Benezra (PhD, 1983), director of the San Francisco

Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and an Anderson Collection

graduate intern from 1980 to 1983, the experience was “terrifically

important,” as it provided him with his first introduction to the

art market. 23 During his three years with the Andersons, Benezra

was responsible for, among other duties, compiling a complete




fair-market evaluation of the collection, an example of the kind of

invaluable real-world education not easily acquired in the art history

classroom. Benezra wrote his dissertation on Josef Albers

while working at the collection. He credits Hunk with helping him

to enter the competitive museum field, recalling how at the end

of graduate school the collector “spent one morning placing calls

to a variety of national museum directors and curators” on the

intern’s behalf, which eventually resulted in his first curatorial

position. 24 Says Benezra, “Hunk’s kind recommendation changed

my life, and I will be forever grateful for the head start he gave me.” 25

In the late 1980s, when the program was about a decade old

and had already employed more than a dozen enthusiastic Stanford

graduate students as interns and art handlers, the Andersons

began to augment the internship experience by offering curatorial

opportunities to motivated students. Encouraged by a particularly

ambitious group of interns who staffed the collection from about

1987 to 1990, it became standard practice for interns to curate

small exhibitions drawn from the collection. These would be

mounted either at Stanford or at other regional museums or galleries

including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Triton Museum

of Art in Santa Clara, and the Mills College Art Gallery in Oakland,

among others. Topics for intern-curated shows were based upon

individual interests and ran the gamut from contemporary sculpture

and Bay Area Funk art to exhibitions focused on single artists,

themes, or art-making mediums. 26

Interns “had a lot of freedom to pursue their own projects and

apply their developing art historical skills,” notes David Cateforis

(PhD, 1992), an Anderson Collection intern from 1988 to 1991 and

now professor of art history at the University of Kansas. 27 Cateforis

was one of the first interns to curate an exhibition made up of

Anderson works, organizing a show of contemporary sculpture.

With fellow intern Michelle Meyers (MA, 1988) he co-curated

Jennifer Bartlett and Elizabeth Murray: Works from the Anderson

Collection in 1991 (fig. 9). 28 For the latter exhibition, Cateforis

remembers vividly his trip to New York to interview Murray, “not

by phone but in person, over breakfast, followed by a visit to her

studio—all made possible by the Andersons.” 29 It was this sort of

opportunity—face-to-face time with contemporary artists and the

chance to curate fully researched, scholarly exhibitions—that

provided invaluable experience to graduate students interested in

the curatorial side of the field.

It is not surprising that, given Hunk’s background as a cofounder

of a large corporation, interns who worked closely with

the collector often gained insight into business practices and

organizing principles that would turn out to be useful in their later

careers. Rachel Teagle (PhD, 2001)—director of the Jan Shrem and

Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California,

Davis, who began as an intern in 1995 but by the time she departed

in 2000 had been promoted to curator (a new job title then at

the collection)—maintains that “working for Hunk made me a

Figure 9

Anderson Collection intern David Cateforis

giving a gallery talk in front of Elizabeth

Murray’s Mouse Cup (1981–82), Mills College

Art Gallery, Oakland, California, 1991





professional.” 30 Teagle oversaw the large-scale, three-year preparation

for Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection (2000),

an exhibition of over 350 works organized by curator Gary Garrels

at SFMOMA (fig. 10). 31 With the exhibition came new intern responsibilities,

many related to the research, writing, and production of

the comprehensive exhibition catalogue, but also in working

closely with the works of art themselves as they were prepared

for display. This was the dynamic period in which I myself joined

the collection as an intern (I would later assume the role of collection

manager and then curator, when Teagle left for a position at

SFMOMA), and I cannot overstate the value my time with the

Andersons added to my overall Stanford experience, on both a

personal and professional level.


It was not only art and art history students who benefited from the

Andersons’ close ties to Stanford. Since 1971, the year that Al Elsen

and law school professor John H. Merryman (fig. 11) developed a

course titled Art and the Law, Stanford law students have had the

opportunity to tour the Andersons’ home and see firsthand how

collectors live with and care for valuable works of art. Every year,

Hunk would welcome the Art and the Law class to his home for an

afternoon visit. According to Merryman, Nelson Bowman Sweitzer

and Marie B. Sweitzer Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor in

the Department of Art, Emeritus: “Hunk always greeted us and

invited the students to wander through the house—all rooms were

open to them.” 32 In most cases, it was Hunk himself who conducted

the tour, which was always followed by a question and answer

session. “He was very generous with his time,” says Merryman.

Stanford Law School’s Art and the Law was the first course of its

kind offered in a law school setting dealing with “the legal, public

policy, and ethical issues that concern artists, art dealers, auction

houses, museums, collectors, and others who comprise the world

of visual art.” 33 The course is still offered, although as of 2012

Merryman officially retired from the classroom. It is his hope

that Art and the Law will remain part of the Stanford law curriculum.

Recounts Merryman, “The Anderson Collection visit was an

important feature of our course. It introduced the students to a

major contemporary art collection and its collector. And it gave

them an opportunity to question and learn from him about his

experience and collecting motives.” 34

For Vivian F. Wang (BS, 2005; JD, 2010), who visited the

Anderson home five times during her years at Stanford, the experience

was inspiring: “I was amazed that [the Andersons] opened

their entire home to us, letting us get as close as we liked to the

de Kooning, the Diebenkorn, the Still, the Rothko.” 35 Wang first

toured the collection as an undergraduate auditor of Merryman’s

Art and the Law class. Later opportunities came while she was a

Figure 10

Installation view of Celebrating Modern Art:

The Anderson Collection, San Francisco

Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, 2000

Figure 11

John Merryman, Stanford Law School,

Stanford, California, 1986




student guide at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual

Arts, then in law school as an official Art and the Law student, and

then as a teaching assistant for the class. “During some of the

visits,” says Wang, “we benefited from the insights of the Stanford

art history doctoral student whom the Andersons have a tradition

of hiring to assist with the collection.” Wang remembers that “each

visit culminated with Mr. Anderson warmly sharing his time with

us, sitting down to chat about the collection. He told us that one

of the questions that guides his collecting and helps him decide

whether to purchase a work is ‘Could I have thought of that?’ This

struck me as an excellent piece of advice to aspiring collectors

and is something I have kept in mind for the modest purchases of

art that I’ve made.” 36


As unimaginable as it might seem, when the Andersons arrived in

California in 1962 the Stanford University Museum of Art (now the

Cantor Arts Center) was still in disrepair from the devastation of the

1906 earthquake and suffering neglect. It had been closed to the

public since 1945. In 1963 the university brought in Eitner to serve

the dual roles of chair of the fledgling art department and director of

the museum (fig. 12). Eitner was determined to return the museum to

a functioning institution with active exhibitions and programming,

and reached out to the Andersons and other concerned individuals

for help in funding the general repairs necessary to begin the museum’s

transformation back into a proper environment for art. As Hunk

says, Eitner was “working on a shoestring” budget and “needed

money to paint the place.” The Andersons were happy to supply

capital for such a project because, as Moo remembers, no repairs

had been made to the building for over half a century.

Beginning in 1971, the Andersons also supported the newly

reopened museum with exhibition loans. A Decade in the West:

Painting, Sculpture and Graphics from the Anderson Collection,

with a catalogue written by Elsen, inaugurated the Andersons’

innovative “collection sharing” program. Over the years the practice

has provided works for nearly twenty exhibitions at arts venues

throughout the Bay Area and beyond, including several Stanford

Museum shows. 37

During the 1980s, the Andersons began a close association

with Betsy Fryberger, curator of prints and drawings at the Stanford

museum. Fryberger, now Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator

of Drawings and Prints, Emerita, had come from the Art Institute

of Chicago in 1970, and her area of specialty was nineteenthcentury

and Old Master prints and drawings. The curator confesses

she was “blown away” upon seeing Abstract Expressionist (and

Stanford alumnus, BA, 1936) Robert Motherwell’s aquatint portfolio

A la pintura (1972) in Moo’s upstairs office at the Anderson home:

“It was a revelation.” 38 She subsequently organized three important

Figure 12

Lorenz Eitner, Stanford University Museum

of Art, 1989



13 14 15

exhibitions of prints from the Anderson Collection with accompanying

catalogues: Robert Motherwell (1986); Richard Diebenkorn

(1987); and The Anderson Collection: Two Decades of American

Graphics, 1967–1987 (1987; fig. 13). 39 At the time the museum

operated with a small staff; as Moo recalls, Fryberger and an assistant

would transport the works from the house to the museum

themselves. Says Fryberger, “I always wanted to see the works,

sometimes several times, before borrowing them. In visiting their

home, I gained an appreciation of the breadth and depth of their

collecting.” 40

Over the years the family provided the museum with temporary

loans of major new acquisitions, which sometimes made a stop at

Stanford on their way from galleries in New York to California. Or,

in the case of Robert Rauschenberg’s monumental Barge (Gabarra)

(1962–63, now owned by the Guggenheim Museum), which the

Andersons were considering acquiring as a gift for SFMOMA before

settling on the artist’s Combine painting Collection (1954/55), the

work went on view at Stanford for several months in 1972 before

returning to the dealer. In 1985, the Andersons loaned Frank Stella’s

massive aluminum and fiberglass construction Giufà, la luna, i ladri

e le guardie, 4X (1984, gifted to SFMOMA in 2002), which they had

just acquired. In a departure from the norm, the Andersons themselves

helped to install the complicated Stella, which fits together

like a puzzle. “My blood is on that Stella,” says Hunk of his first, and

last, attempt to install an artwork, according to Moo (figs. 14 and 15).

When the Loma Prieta earthquake closed the museum for a

decade in 1989, Wanda Corn, who was serving as interim director

after Eitner’s retirement, remembers appealing to Anderson graduate

interns David Cateforis and Michelle Meyers for help in programming

the space of the Stanford University Art Gallery, the

only exhibition venue open at the time. 41 Consequently, the first

shows curated by Anderson Collection interns—Meyers’s Sean

Scully/Donald Sultan: Abstraction/Representation—Paintings,

Drawings, and Prints from the Anderson Collection (1990) and the

Bartlett and Murray exhibition mentioned above—were also life

savers for the crippled institution. “The Andersons were always so

accommodating,” says Corn, recalling as well how they once

loaned a small group of works (Georgia O’Keeffe’s A Street [1926],

now owned by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and four Arthur

Dove watercolors) to the museum specifically for her students to

view and learn from while she was teaching a course on American

modernism. 42

In addition to contributing to museum programming by providing

exhibition loans, over the decades the Andersons have also

regularly opened their home to tours by the museum’s volunteer

and fundraising membership group, the Committee for Art.

According to Fryberger, “The Andersons were wonderfully generous”

to this group, describing their affiliation as “a close, almost

family relationship.” 43 Members of the Cantor Arts Center continue

to enjoy the Andersons’ hospitality on yearly tours of the collection.

Figure 13

Cover of exhibition catalogue for The Anderson

Collection: Two Decades of American Graphics,

1967–1987, Stanford University Museum of Art,

Stanford, 1987–88

Figure 14

Putter, Moo, unidentified man, and Hunk

in Holub’s Untitled (Installing Frank Stella at

Stanford), 1985

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

Figure 15

Hunk in Holub’s Untitled (Installing Frank Stella

at Stanford), 1985

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson



16 17


Three-dimensional works constitute about thirty percent of the

Andersons’ present gift to Stanford, demonstrating the collectors’

longtime interest in and commitment to the medium of sculpture.

Indeed, Hunk, Moo, and Putter are not amongst those who believe

that “sculpture is what you bump into when you back up to see

a painting,” as painter Barnett Newman famously quipped in

the 1950s. Modern outdoor sculptures by such artists as Henry

Moore, David Smith, and Elie Nadelman are integrated in the

domestic landscape outside the Anderson home, while numerous

smaller- scale modern and contemporary three-dimensional

works can be found inside the house and throughout the Quadrus

complex. 44

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Anderson family was

behind the commission of what is perhaps Stanford’s must unique

outdoor public sculpture: Josef Albers’s Stanford Wall (1980; fig.

16). Though the work was originally sited at the intersection of

Lomita Mall and the west end of the Quad, today the “Albers Wall,”

as it is known around campus, is installed near the intersection

of Campus Drive and Roth Way at the east end of the Oval near

the Littlefield Center. Designed specifically for the Stanford campus,

the wall was Albers’s last work (it was completed four years

after the artist’s death) and, as Neal Benezra notes, was “without

question…Albers’s only large- scale work to be conceived independent

of architectural restraint”— that is, it is his only freestanding

monumental sculpture. 45

The idea to commission a work from the renowned abstract

artist came in 1971, while the Andersons were pondering the acquisition

of several Albers prints for their own collection. Albers is

best known for his highly structured Homage to the Square paintings

of concentrically nested and relationally colored squares,

such as the Andersons’ lovely 1969 example (Homage to the

Square: Diffused, pl. 34). During a visit to the artist’s studio in

Connecticut, Albers showed to Hunk and Moo photographs of

several “constructions” he had recently completed. These images

piqued their interest. Shortly thereafter, Hunk and print dealer

Kenneth Tyler began discussing the idea of an Albers construction

for the Stanford campus. With the involvement of sculpture advocate

Elsen, who championed the idea and lobbied tirelessly on

behalf of the project, the work finally came to fruition ten years

later, funded in part by a gift from the Andersons (fig. 17). The

fifty-four-foot-long, nine-foot-tall brick and granite wall is embellished

on one side with Albers’s iconic “structural constellations”

(floating two-dimensional forms that give the appearance of

three-dimensional space) in stainless steel, and on the other side

with short, horizontal steel rods arranged in such a way as to

suggest depth and recession in the otherwise flat brick surface.

The latter is reminiscent of a computer punch card or data printout,

and the work as a whole melds art and science in a manner

Figure 16


Stanford Wall, 1980

Brick, steel, and granite

9 x 54 x 1 feet

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Gift of Annie Albers and

the Josef Albers Foundation, Mr. and

Mrs. Harry W. Anderson, June and Courtney

Catron, Thomas E. Conroy, Joann and Julian

Ganz Jr., Gordon F. Hampton, The Luke B.

Hancock Foundation, the Janss Family, and

Phyllis and Stuart Moldaw

Figure 17

Unidentified donor, Phyllis Moldaw, Hunk and

Moo Anderson, and Al Elsen at the dedication

of Albers’s Stanford Wall, 1980




appropriate for a campus in which both intellectual pursuits are

highly valued.


The Andersons’ desire to share their love of art with the community,

evinced through exhibition loans and an active schedule of public

collection tours, is also demonstrated through their involvement

with the Stanford Hospital and Clinics Art Commission. Moo was

one of the original members of the commission, which was established

in 1986 with the goal of bringing contemporary art into the

hospital setting as a way to enrich and humanize the physical

environment for patients, staff, and visitors. “Moo’s presence

brings joy, excitement, and laughter because her love for the arts

is contagious,” says Linda Meier, chair of the art commission,

noting that the hospital’s “reputation for having museum-quality

art” was realized, in no small part, through the dedication and

generosity of Moo. 46

The Andersons had long understood the positive effects of

living with art and of rotating art installations in the workplace;

indeed, this is what Hunk had been doing at Saga for many years—

a practice that continues to this day at the Quadrus complex

offices. To this end, in 1990 they put on long-term loan to the hospital

a group of seventy works of art from their private collection.

In 2001 seventeen of the original group were officially donated to

the hospital. These gifts, says Meier, “strengthen our collection as

well as bring life and awareness to the community.” 47 The hospital

now boasts a diverse collection of contemporary works that hang

throughout its spaces, including on the walls of patient rooms.

Says Moo, who prefers to focus on the affirmative notion of hospitals

as places of healing rather than as places of sickness, “It is

my hope that the artworks installed in the hospital serve as positive

distractions from the anxieties often experienced by those whose

lives necessitate a visit to a medical facility.” 48


“We think of this as only the beginning,” says Hunk of the gift of

the core of the Anderson Collection to Stanford. Liken ing the act

to “the planting of a fruit tree” on campus, the collectors expect

the gift to continue to reward the university community, the Bay

Area, and the public at large for generations to come (fig. 18).

Although “the tree hasn’t started to flower yet,” says Hunk, it is

clear that the positive relationships established over the years

between the Anderson family and its Stanford neighbors ensure

that the tree will soon bear fruit. “My parents constantly instilled

in me the belief that we are only the temporary custodians of the

art in the Anderson Collection,” notes Putter. “I always knew that

Figure 18

The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

(back left) with its neighbor, the Iris & B. Gerald

Cantor Center for Visual Arts (right), April 2014



the core collection would be given to an institution, and, thanks

to Stanford University, their legacy and kindness will always be

remembered. My parents’ greatest desire has been, in the humble

words of my father, for the world to be ‘a grain of salt better’

because they were here. I think we can say without a doubt they

have succeeded many times over.” 49


1. Wanda M. Corn, conversation with the author,

March 1, 2013.

2. Hunk Anderson, interview with the author,

Anderson Collection offices, 2440 Sand Hill Road,

Menlo Park, CA, October 11, 2012. Unless otherwise

indicated, all quotes from Hunk Anderson are taken

from this interview.

3. Moo Anderson, email to the author, January 29, 2013.

4. Primarily collection manager Helen Heninger, who

helped the Andersons define their initial collecting

goals and objectives during the 1970s.

5. At the time of his death Elsen held the Walter A.

Haas Professorship in the Humanities.

6. Moo Anderson, interview with the author,

Anderson Collection offices, October 11, 2012. Unless

otherwise indicated, all quotes from Moo Anderson

are taken from this interview.

7. Moo also took a black-and-white photography class

from Bob Parker, head of the photography program

at the time, but “it didn’t sink in too well!” she says.

8. Oliveira’s revered status within the university community

will be commemorated in the spring of 2014

with the opening of the Windhover Contemplative

Center, a new site on campus designed for quiet

reflection and featuring four large paintings from the

artist’s Windhover series, all of which were inspired

by images of birds in flight and metaphors for the

mind’s similar ability to soar.

9. The Andersons went on to acquire forty-one works

by Oliveira between 1968 and 2004. Sixteen remain

in the collection at present, including the three in the

Stanford gift.

10. Nathan Oliveira, letter to Hunk Anderson dated

April 9, 1970, artist file, Anderson Collection offices.

11. Ibid.



12. Leo Holub, quoted in “Seeing Stanford:

Photographer Leo Holub,” Sandstone & Tile (Stanford

Historical Society) 36, no. 1 (Winter 2012): 24.

13. Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, “Memories:

Leo Holub and the Artists Portraits Portfolio,” in David

U. Himmelberger, Leo Holub: A Lifetime of Photography

(San Francisco: Himmelberger Gallery, 2007), 141.

14. Himmelberger, Leo Holub, 141.

15. Corn, conversation with the author.

16. There have been a total of thirty-two interns over

the years. The internship program was never restricted

to Stanford students, but 95% of interns were Stanford

affiliated. The others came from San Francisco State

University’s museum studies program. The Anderson

Collection interns were June Sobel (1975–76), Steve

McGough (1976–77), Pam Ritchie (1976–77), John Seed

(1977–79), Pegan Brooke (1979–80), Sarah Moulton

(1979), Neal Benezra (1980–83), Peter Boswell (1980–

83), Terra Miller (1982–84), James D. Herbert (1982–83),

Leslie Weeden (1983–84), Karen Lee (1983–86), Jil

Evans (1984–86), Katie Solomonson (1984–87), Young

Harvill (1985–86), Charlotte Wellman (1986–87),

Michelle Meyers (1987–90), George Bent (1987–89),

David Cateforis (1988–91), Branden W. Joseph (1990–

91), Mikka Gee Conway (1991–93), Rebecca Albiani

(1991–93), Evelyn C. Hankins (1992–94), Carolyn

Kastner (1994–96), Rachel Teagle (1995–2000), Carrie

Lambert-Beatty (1996–97), Molly S. Hutton (1998–

2002), Traci Furan (1999, San Francisco State),

Jennifer McKenna (1999–2000, San Francisco State),

Gwen Allen (2002–03), Heather Pamela Green

(2004–08), and Karen M. Rapp (2008–09).

17. The highly desirable Sand Hill Road address is

now home to some of Silicon Valley’s most recognized

venture capital firms, among other businesses.

18. June Sobel, email to the author, January 10, 2013.

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. John Seed, email to the author, January 10, 2013.

22. Ibid.

23. Neal Benezra, email to the author, February 24, 2013.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. The most recent intern-curated exhibition was

De-Natured: Works from the Anderson Collection,

curated by Heather Pamela Green (PhD, 2009) for the

San Jose Museum of Art, October 13, 2007–January

6, 2008.

27. David Cateforis, email to the author, February 1, 2013.

28. The sculpture exhibition was Objects of Potential:

Five American Sculptors from the Anderson

Collection, which featured the works of Phoebe

Adams, John Duff, Mark Lere, Martin Puryear, and

Robert Therrien. The exhibition was mounted at the

Wiegand Gallery, College of Notre Dame, Belmont,

CA, February 6–March 30, 1990. The Bartlett and

Murray exhibition appeared at the Mills College Art

Gallery, Oakland, CA, January 29–March 24, 1991,

and traveled to the Stanford University Art Gallery.

29. Cateforis, email to the author.

30. Rachel Teagle, email to the author, January 16, 2013.

31. The exhibition ran from October 4, 2000, to

January 15, 2001.

32. John H. Merryman, email to the author, January

4, 2013.

33. Art and the Law course description, Stanford Law

School website, available at http://www.law.stanford

.edu/courses/art-and-the-law, accessed January 7, 2013.

34. Merryman, email to the author.

35. Vivian F. Wang, email to the author, January 7, 2013.

36. Ibid.

37. Collection sharing has always been one of the

guiding principles of the Anderson Collection,

reflecting the couple’s belief that they are merely

temporary “caretakers” of the works of art in the collection

and hence have a responsibility to share the

works with the public on an ongoing basis.

38. Betsy Fryberger, email to the author, February 25,


39. Ibid.

40. Ibid.

41. Corn, conversation with the author.

42. Ibid. The O’Keeffe painting was deaccessioned in

1990; the four Doves—City Moon (1936), Geneva #1

(1938), Centerport III (c. 1940s), and Sunrise

Centerport (1941)—are still owned by the Andersons.

43. Ibid.

44. The Andersons’ collection of modern European

sculpture was put together with the encouragement

of Al Elsen, whose expertise in the works of Rodin

extended to modern sculpture in general.

45. Neal Benezra, The Murals and Sculpture of Josef

Albers (New York: Garland Publishing, 1985).

46. Linda Meier, email to the author, March 15, 2013.

Thank you to Linh Dang, art commission coordinator.

47. Ibid.

48. Moo Anderson, conversation with the author,

June 3, 2013.

49. Putter Anderson Pence, conversation with the

author, June 3, 2013.





I became friends with Hunk and Moo, which is not extremely difficult to do.

They’re absolutely charming and about as big hearted as the Atlantic Ocean and they’re so full of love

and public spiritedness. They exemplify something about America—the greatest part of America—

the ideal part, where we all see that capitalism works…

I really so much appreciate them. And Putter, as well, their daughter. —SEAN SCULLY


1 2

In 1969 Hunk and Moo Anderson wrote a letter to Georgia O’Keeffe

regarding a painting of hers that they were considering acquiring.

The artist replied with an invitation to visit her if they should happen

to find themselves in the vicinity of her home outside of Santa

Fe, New Mexico. As Hunk recounts the story, “Lo and behold, all

three of us [including daughter Putter] were on a plane” 1 (fig. 1).

The occasions that the Andersons spent with O’Keeffe, whom they

visited twice and also hosted in their own home, surely were

remarkable experiences for the family, who had started collecting

modern and Impressionist art just four years earlier and had only

recently decided to acquire work by living artists. The opportunity

to build relationships with artists is unique to the province of contemporary

art; for many collectors, it is among the field’s most

appealing aspects. The Andersons’ connection to artists is an

unusually strong one, as made evident by their commitment to

acquire the work of certain artists in depth and by the portfolio of

111 artist portraits that they commissioned photographer Leo

Holub to undertake. The Andersons aptly characterize their extensive

art collection as encompassing work in which both “the head

and the hand” of the artist are discernible. 2 Their enduring predilection

for art in which visible traces of its creator’s touch remain

present is perhaps the most material sign of this commitment and,

indeed, the Andersons’ allegiance to artists in general. This essay

explores a small sampling of the many personal relationships that

Hunk, Moo, and Putter have fostered with artists over almost fifty

years of collecting contemporary art. The artist-patron relationship,

often overlooked in conventional collecting histories, offers

a unique perspective on the story of how this particular family

assembled a world-class collection of postwar and contemporary

American art. It also provides a renewed understanding of the

personal element that is inherent to the fundamentally humanist

enterprise of collecting.

In hindsight, it is not particularly surprising that some of the

first artists with whom the Andersons made a personal connection

were those who lived and worked in California. But in the late

1960s New York City, which had become the undisputed apex of

the international art world in the 1950s with the rise of Abstract

Expressionism, remained in the opinion of most curators and collectors

the only source for contemporary art. In fact, there was

almost no acknowledgment of the vitality or quality of new work

produced in other American cities. It was in this context that the

Andersons became acquainted with Nathan Oliveira, an established

figurative painter and printmaker who had recently joined

the faculty at Stanford University (fig. 2). Introduced to Oliveira

by Stanford art history professor Albert E. Elsen, the Andersons

began to acquire his work, including the paintings Stage #2 with

Bed (1967; pl. 3), Nude in Environment I (1962; pl. 5), and Reclining

Nude (1958; pl. 4), all of which were purchased in 1969. While

Oliveira was one of the first California artists to enter the Anderson

Collection, it was through his close friendship with Hunk and Moo

Figure 1

Moo and Putter Anderson with Georgia

O’Keeffe, Abiquiu, New Mexico, c. 1969

Figure 2


Nate Oliveira, Stanford 1971 (Print Studio), 1971

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson





that he played a decisive role in catalyzing both the breadth and

manner of the couple’s collecting trajectory.

Oliveira, at the Andersons’ request, offered a fresh assessment

of their collection: “It is time to start considering possible changes

in the collection (selling, buying, better examples, etc.); however,

I would not act quickly in this matter, and would rather consider

this as another means at your disposal to strengthen the collection,

as you both reflect on the whole picture and as opportunities

present themselves.” 3 His frank advice is emblematic of the open

dialogue that the Andersons would cultivate with so many other

artists in the coming decades. Oliveira, encouraged perhaps by

the couple’s obvious support of his work, set aside any competitive

instincts and instead introduced them to what they characterize

as “a wide brush of Bay Area artists.” His influence on the direction

that the collection would take was paramount, as the Andersons,

ignoring conventional wisdom, began to place artists from the Bay

Area, Los Angeles, and Davis on equal terms with their East Coast

counterparts. Between 1969 and 1972 alone, the couple acquired

paintings by Billy Al Bengston, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis,

David Park, Wayne Thiebaud, and Paul Wonner; sculptures by

Peter Alexander, Bruce Beasley, Fletcher Benton, Ronald Davis,

and John McCracken; and ceramics by David Gilhooly and Robert

Arneson, among others. But Oliveira—who along with wife Mona

remained close friends with Hunk, Moo, and Putter until his death

in 2010—provided the crucial example of how the Anderson

Collection might be built on close relationships with artists, relationships

that would then go on to take many different guises.

While the Andersons amassed in-depth holdings representing

countless California artists, the work of Richard Diebenkorn is

without doubt a cornerstone of the collection. Their relationship

can be considered as the summa example of the mutual investment

made by artists and collectors. Between 1969 and 1990, the

Andersons acquired more than eighty works by the artist, including

paintings on canvas, paper, and wood, as well as the diverse print

media—etching, drypoint, aquatint, woodblock, and lithography—in

which he worked (fig. 3). The three paintings in the gift to

Stanford—Berkeley #26 (1954; pl. 6), Girl on the Beach (1957; pl.

7), and Ocean Park #60 (1973; pl. 43)—encapsulate his accomplishments

after he settled in California in 1953. Moving with

singular finesse from abstraction to figuration and then back to

abstraction again, Diebenkorn throughout his career disregarded

entrenched divisions regarding the relevance of subject matter

and instead encouraged viewers to consider a more fluid relationship

between the exterior world, painted gesture, and meaning.

Committed to building their holdings of the artist’s work, the

Andersons visited his Los Angeles studio to see new work on multiple

occasions; they also socialized with him and his wife, Phyllis.

An indication of what such rare sustained support denotes to

an artist, Diebenkorn replaced an etching from the portfolio 41

Etchings and Drypoints (1965), which had been misplaced while

Figure 3


Richard Diebenkorn, Oakland 1980

(Crown Point Press), 1980

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson



4 5

on a multi-venue tour, with one of two artist proofs that remained

in his possession. In a brief note, he explained, “It pleases me to be

able to do this since you’ve been buying things of mine for years.” 4

The artist’s generous gift is particularly significant, as that portfolio

was the first contemporary artwork purchased by the couple.

The Andersons, in addition to being pioneering collectors of

California art, were also among the earliest to acquire a broad

array of contemporary prints, a field long overlooked in favor of

the more monumental medium of painting. Again, it was Oliveira

who encouraged what would become the couple’s abiding passion

for prints. One of the leaders of the Bay Area monotype revival

in the 1970s, Oliveira through his own work made evident that

printmaking should be recognized as a source of significant experimentation

in its own right. The Andersons started collecting prints

in the late 1960s, gradually building a collection of more than 650

works that testify to the resurgence of printmaking in America.

(They donated the prints to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

in 1996. 5 )

Moo, moreover, was a founding partner in 3EP Ltd., a print

publishing venture that she opened in Palo Alto with art dealer

Paula Kirkeby and artist Joseph Goldyne in 1978. 3EP offered artists

the opportunity to experiment with new print media that might

otherwise not be available to them, with particular emphasis on

monotypes, handmade paper, and small edition processes. Artists

were invited to work at the press for one to two weeks, with 3EP

providing a full printmaking studio (for which Oliveira provided

guidance), materials, and the assistance of master printer Ikuru

Kuwahara, as well as travel and accommodations. 6 At the end of

the residency, artists kept half of the impressions while the press

retained the rest, with one example of each work going to the Fine

Arts Museums of San Francisco. The partners of 3EP invited artists

who were already familiar with monotypes and other limited-edition

printmaking processes as well as those who were new to these

media. Among those who produced editions under the auspices

of 3EP were Charles Arnoldi, Laddie John Dill, Claire Falkenstein,

Sam Francis, David Gilhooly, Tom Holland, Frank Lobdell, Ed

Moses, and Joseph Zirker.

At 3EP, Moo became more deeply involved with artists during

the creative process itself, thereby expanding her role from that

of a collector of existing work to one who facilitated the creation

of new art (fig. 4). (Hunk also contributed to 3EP by donating a

new, larger press to the studio in 1981.) As a small art press, 3EP

was driven by the owners’ commitment to supporting artists, from

initial concept through final realization in the edition of prints. The

press also granted artists the invaluable freedom of time and space.

Moo’s responsibilities, in addition to those typical of a business,

took myriad forms, particularly when an artist was in residence,

from reviewing new proofs with an artist as soon as they came off

the press to picking up lunch to ensure an artist could continue

working without interruption (fig. 5). The partners’ dedication to

Figure 4

Moo at 3EP Ltd., Palo Alto, California,

June 1981

3EP Ltd. records, Archives of American Art,

Smithsonian Institution

Figure 5

Moo and Sam Francis reviewing proofs at 3EP

Ltd., c. 1981–82

3EP Ltd. records, Archives of American Art,

Smithsonian Institution






the vision of the artists with whom they collaborated is revealed

in correspondence, which details tasks such as sending Charles

Arnoldi paper samples made to his specifications before he started

his residency and ensuring that the Archives of American Art

stayed true to Oliveira’s vision when 3EP agreed to publish a larger

than normal edition of prints as a fundraiser. 7 To this day, Moo relishes

the time she spent in the studio with the artists, the majority

of whom took advantage of the monotype’s inherent flexibility by

experimenting widely with new forms and processes. Ed Moses—

a Los Angeles artist best known for paintings that incorporate

unusual materials such as resin, including Ill. Hegemann 30 (1972;

pl. 70)—created prints from multiple plates that he had sandblasted

and beveled (fig. 6). 8 Sam Francis, on the other hand, took

advantage of his time working on the 3EP press in 1982 to complete

a set of ten self- portraits, several of which he had begun a decade

before (fig. 7). 9

The Andersons were actually familiar with Francis long before

founding 3EP, having acquired in 1969 the paintings Deep Blue,

Yellow, Red (1956) and Red in Red (1955; pl. 11), the latter of which

is in the gift to Stanford. With its brilliant, saturated colors and

all-over composition of cellular forms and palpable drips, Red

in Red typifies the large-scale abstractions that garnered the

artist critical acclaim and frequently positioned him as an heir to

Abstract Expressionist painters Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko. In

the following years, the Andersons amassed a number of Francis’s

paintings, drawings, and prints including The Beaubourg (1977; pl.

54), an oversized painting that reflects a significant shift in style

and technique. Painted on the floor rather than upright, The

Beaubourg features the artist’s characteristic spontaneous brushwork,

now contained within precisely delimited, criss-crossing

bands that structure the otherwise open composition. That Francis

maintained studios both in Santa Monica and Palo Alto and would

drop in on the 3EP studio surely facilitated the friendship that

developed with the Anderson family. In fact, Putter’s first job was

sorting photos at the artist’s Santa Monica studio, suggesting how

geographical proximity and a personal relationship helped to

encourage the next generation of the Anderson family to also

collect contemporary art.

The historical development of the collection reflects the fact

that the Andersons never limited themselves to any one region,

medium, or movement; instead, their passionate pursuit of “the

best of the best” was more akin to a multifront campaign. During

the same short span of three years that they immersed themselves

in printmaking and California art, they also were building an

extraordinary collection of canonical works by New York School

artists such as Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline,

Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and David Smith, among others.

In 1972 three major paintings by Still, an artist not yet represented

in the collection, came onto the market. Still was hailed for thickly

impastoed abstractions made up of cryptic jagged forms in muted

Figure 6

Ed Moses working on a plate at 3EP Ltd., 1982

3EP Ltd. records, Archives of American Art,

Smithsonian Institution

Figure 7

Francis busy in the 3EP studio, 1981–82

3EP Ltd. records, Archives of American Art,

Smithsonian Institution



tones (pigments hand-ground by the artist) that call to mind natural

forms and unseen organic forces. The Andersons still recall how

they “swallowed hard” and purchased all three, including 1957-J

No. 1 (PH-142) (1957; pl. 31), with plans to donate one work to the

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), which they did

in 1974. 10 Through SFMOMA curator Henry Hopkins, the artist

learned of these new collectors and their philanthropic intentions.

Noto riously recalcitrant, Still was renowned for his efforts to control

the acquisition and display of his paintings after they left his

studio, even refusing to sell works to collectors who he felt did not

truly appreciate his art. Much to the Andersons’ surprise, Patricia

Still, the artist’s wife, wrote to Hopkins, “I can add that Mr. Still is

immen sely pleased if such is the case insomuch as the works are

coming into the possession of one who obviously understands

their intrinsic and historical value.” 11 Within a few weeks, the

Andersons themselves received a letter, stating, “Mr. Still is more

than pleased to know that the 1957-J, as well as the 1960 painting

and especially 1947-Y, are in your care. He asked me to tell you that

we have seen the 1960 work in the San Francisco Museum and that

‘I am confident it will do us both honor in years to come. A very

generous and noble gesture on your part.’” 12 That an artist as

intractable as Still bestowed such rare admiration on the collectors

(a group for whom he generally had no tolerance) certainly attests

to how, even early on, the Andersons garnered tremendous respect

from artists, thanks in part to their bold collecting instincts and

their pledge to share with the world the extraordinary art that they

were fortunate enough to acquire.

A few months later, in September 1974, Moo received an

unexpected phone call from Patricia Still inquiring whether she

and her husband could visit the Andersons that day to see Still’s

paintings, as they were in San Francisco visiting their daughter.

Rather than send a driver, as Still requested, Moo herself drove

the couple back and forth between the Andersons’ home and San

Francisco. Both Hunk and Moo recall with fondness the time they

spent with the Stills, particularly the artist talking at length about

his work while sitting at their dining room table, as well as his wife

bluntly requesting that they replace their blinds in order to mitigate

any light exposure to Still’s paintings. The two couples remained

in contact over the decades, their correspondence reflecting their

continued esteem for one another: in 1996, sixteen years after the

artist’s death, Patricia Still wrote of “such warm memories of those

days.” 13 Even now, the Andersons recall with a certain amount of

awe the time that they spent with Clyfford Still, describing it as “one

of the most exciting experiences to happen to us.” Yet it was the

couple’s belief in the art and their remarkable generosity of spirit

that allowed them to win over even the most difficult of artists.

The relationship that the Andersons developed with Philip

Guston, an artist of Still’s generation whose work occupies a foundational

position in the collection, is one that demonstrates the

strength of the couple’s convictions and their virtually fearless






approach to collecting. The Andersons began to purchase Guston’s

work in 1976, acquiring a total of twenty-four paintings, drawings,

and prints over the next five years. Among the first works by Guston

to enter their collection is the painting The Tale (1961; pl. 46). With

its sonorous palette and convoluted network of sumptuous brushwork

converging at the center of the composition, The Tale typifies

the dark, dense paintings that the Abstract Expressionist artist

began to produce in the late 1950s. Within a decade, however, he

had abandoned his distinctive abstractions in favor of narrative

paintings inhabited by enigmatic, cartoon-like figures, a decision so

controversial that it prompted many critics, curators, and collectors

to abandon their support of the artist when the work was exhibited

publicly in 1970. The Andersons, however, were unswayed by

persistent doubts about Guston’s retrenchment from abstraction;

rather, they were “enamored with the courage of Guston and his

attitude of ‘I don’t give a damn of whether they buy it or not.’”

In 1978 Hunk and Moo, along with dealers David and Renee

McKee, traveled by train to the artist’s home in Woodstock, New

York. Photographs show the Andersons visiting with Guston and

his wife, Musa, in their kitchen, as well as looking at paintings in

the studio, which Moo remembers as “full of art that he had been

painting for twenty years, all in its little categories” (figs. 8–9).

Among the works that were pulled from the racks by the artist was

The Coat II (1977; pl. 48), a heavily painted composition featuring

an anthropomorphized, tattered jacket clutching old shoes and

canvases under its arms, an existential self-portrait of an artist

under siege. As a pair, The Tale and The Coat II reveal beautifully

the consistencies underlying Guston’s ostensible about-face, with

the later painting bringing attention to the forms that seem to

materialize from and then ebb back into the murky field of the

earlier work.

Over the next several years, as they continued to build their

holdings of prints and drawings by the artist, the Andersons hosted

the Gustons in their home when they traveled to the Bay Area in

preparation for the artist’s 1980 retrospective at SFMOMA (fig. 10).

Letters between the two couples reveal a deepening friendship,

with Philip Guston writing, “We felt so much at home in your place,

relaxed and free—as if we had known each other for a long time.” 14

It was not long before the Andersons’ enduring faith in Guston was

validated by historical hindsight. Soon after the artist’s death in

1980, his art, once mocked, already prevailed as the preeminent

example of painterly figuration. His widespread influence can

now be traced through the work of the following generations of

American artists, many of whom the Andersons would soon begin

to collect, including Jennifer Bartlett, Elizabeth Murray, Susan

Rothenberg, and Terry Winters. 15 As important, Guston’s words

convey what every person interviewed for this essay observed

about the Anderson family: their passion for art is equaled only by

an exceptionally warm generosity that has surely facilitated the

countless relationships they have cultivated with artists.

Figure 8

Philip Guston and Hunk Anderson in the artist’s

kitchen, Woodstock, New York, 1978

Figure 9

Hunk, Guston, and Moo in the artist’s studio,

Woodstock, 1978





It was in the 1980s that Putter [now Anderson Pence] took on

an increasingly active role in the collection’s development. While

her childhood had been spent in a house brimming with art and

accompanying her parents on countless museum, gallery, and

studio visits, it was her decisions to become a partner in 3EP Ltd.

and then to open Pence Gallery in Santa Monica that really confirmed

her role as a collector on equal terms with her parents. 16

With a keen eye honed by years of looking at and talking about

art, Putter not only weighed in about potential acquisitions but

she also assumed responsibility for the critical task of identifying

new artists for the collection. 17 Early on she introduced her parents

to the work of Susan Rothenberg. Wishbone (1979; pl. 84) and

Patches (1982; pl. 108) exemplify the artist’s breakthrough style,

characterized by lushly painted yet spare forms that reconsider

the legacy of Guston through that of Minimalism. Although Hunk

and Moo admit that they were comparably slow to appreciate

Rothenberg’s significance, they came to trust Putter’s instincts and

appreciate the fresh vision she brought to the collection, which

she did in part by regularly taking her parents to galleries they

might not normally visit.

Putter, who exhibits a warmth and magnanimity similar to that

of her parents, also places great value on the human connections

that have been spurred by her family’s collecting, observing, “The

artists just really become friends. We admire them, but they really,

truly are friends.” 18 She was the first member of her family to acquire

art by Los Angeles artist Robert Therrien. By reducing an eclectic

array of generic objects to archetypal forms, the artist redraws the

boundary between figuration and abstraction; he also underscores

how images become charged with both personal and collective

meanings. Enticingly elusive, his artworks— almost always named

No title—are surely among the most minimal and conceptual in the

collection. Nonetheless, the Andersons, attracted to the works’

fugitive simplicity, have acquired more than thirty of his sculptures,

paintings, artist books, and works on paper since 1985. Their ongoing

support of the work developed in tandem with their friendship,

thanks in part to regular studio visits whose atmosphere of casual

familiarity the artist has described as more like a family visit than

a business matter. 19 Therrien, like many others, remarked on the

Andersons’ unexpected modesty, an observation supported by

Hunk’s special fondness for six palm-sized, bronze cut-out sculptures

that Therrien selected and housed in a box he constructed

(fig. 11). The understated box’s prized status amidst the countless

spectacular artworks owned by the Andersons is a testament to

the deep personal connection that drives their collecting.

Looking at new work before it is publicly exhibited, while an

essential part of curating and collecting contemporary art, is a

privilege that the Anderson family has never taken for granted. As

Putter explains, “It is a very unique opportunity to go into someone’s

studio and home and see work that they’re working on.” Studio visits

offer the Andersons the chance not only to get to know an artist,

Figure 10

Guston and Moo in the Andersons’ dining

room, 1980

Figure 11


No title, 1985–86

Six painted bronzes in a painted wood box

9 x 22 x 3½ (box)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret






but also to educate themselves in new ways about the work, an

activity that has formed the foundation of their collecting from the

outset. 20 An artist whose studio the Andersons have visited regularly

over the last twenty-five years is Terry Winters; they have steadily

acquired his work, amassing a collection of more than sixty paintings,

drawings, and prints that together chronicle the artist’s career

(fig. 12). The Stanford gift includes Theophrastus’ Garden (1982; pl.

105), Dumb Compass (1985; pl. 115), and Set (1989; pl. 104), three

large-scale paintings each featuring a non-hierarchical arrangement

of sensuously painted, organic forms that conjure up an array of

natural subjects and processes, both visible and invisible. Moreover,

they hint at the exceptionally wide-ranging research (from botany

to information systems) that typically informs the artist’s oeuvre.

The Andersons consider a visit to Winters’s studio to be a particularly

special experience, as it offers a glimpse of the myriad objects

and publications he has collected in the process of producing each

new body of work. For their part, the Andersons have always graciously

welcomed artists (and many other people) into their home,

a gesture that provides an equally revealing view of the way that

art collecting became the element around which they built their

lives. That deep engagement with the art they collected struck

Winters when he visited the couple’s home. As he got to know them,

he explained, “[They] were interested in a great variety of art and

felt a genuine connection. Collecting seems to be a method for

them to explore what those connections mean. They also believed

that other people might be affected or enriched in the same way.” 21

The lasting significance of the commitment that Hunk, Moo,

and Putter have made to contemporary artists over the last fifty

years is made clear by a group of small-scale artworks created in

the fall of 2012. To commemorate her father’s ninetieth birthday,

Putter mailed sheets of his stationery, the top of which is emblazoned

with HUNK in rainbow stripes, to a small group of individuals

in hopes of compiling an album of celebratory notes. She had

anticipated that recipients would return brief written salutations,

but a number of artists—including Charles Arnoldi, Mark Fox,

David Gilhooly, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Robert Therrien, and

William T. Wiley—sent personalized artworks to mark the occasion.

Sean Scully painted one of his distinctive stripe abstractions

made up of exactly ninety scarlet marks, while Terry Winters drew

a tessellation spiraling across the sheet, its black forms elegantly

counterbalancing the letters’ bold hues (figs. 13–14). Vija Celmins,

by contrast, sent a mezzotint print of Saturn that is exquisite in

both scale and execution (fig. 15). Below the impression is a handwritten

inscription reminiscing about the afternoon that she and

Hunk together skipped down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. 22 As

spontaneous and uncharacteristic as that event seems, it nonetheless

acts as a delightful reminder that collecting contempo rary

art is, at its core, a humanist endeavor, and that the personal

relationships that grow out of collecting contemporary art can

transcend the commercial transactions that have traditionally

defined the artist-collector relationship.

Figure 12


Terry Winters NY 1992, 1992

Gelatin silver print

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at

Stanford University; Given in honor of Leo Holub

by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson



13 14 15


I thank Hunk and Moo Anderson and Putter Anderson

Pence, as well as the artists interviewed for this essay,

for so generously giving their time to answer questions.

In addition, many thanks to Jason Linetzky and

Karen Saracino, who provided invaluable research


EPIGRAPH: Sean Scully, recorded telephone interview

with the author, February 20, 2013. The title of

this essay is drawn from Scully’s response to a questionnaire

about the Andersons dated September 9,

1999, artist file, Anderson Collection offices, Menlo

Park, California.

1. Hunk and Moo Anderson, recorded interviews with

the author at the Anderson Collection offices,

January 15, 2013. All subsequent remarks by the

Andersons in the essay that are not otherwise cited

are from these conversations.

2. Artist Terry Winters offered a particularly eloquent

description of the collection: “The Andersons have a

‘painterly’ sensibility, which doesn’t refer only to

painting. It’s about work that involves touch and gesture

and the direct manipulation of materials.”

Winters, recorded telephone interview with the

author, February 21, 2013. For a detailed discussion of

the development of this philosophy, see Rachel

Teagle, “A Modern Touch: The History of the

Anderson Collection,” in Celebrating Modern Art: The

Anderson Collection (San Francisco: San Francisco

Museum of Modern Art; and Berkeley: University of

California Press, 2000), 16–31.

3. Nathan Oliveira, letter to Hunk Anderson, April 9,

1970, artist file, Anderson Collection offices.

4. Richard Diebenkorn, letter to Hunk Anderson, May

28, 1987, artist file, Anderson Collection offices.

5. Karin Breuer, exhibition brochure for Celebrating

the Anderson Graphic Arts Collection: A Focus on

Thirty Years of American Print Production, Fine Arts

Museums of San Francisco, 1997.

6. “Nate’s Recommendations,” notes dated August 8,

1979, 3EP Ltd. records, Archives of American Art,

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, reel 3534,

frame 274–75.

7. Paula Z. Kirkeby and Moo Anderson, letter to

Charles Arnoldi, November 1, 1982, 3EP Ltd. records,

reel 3534, frame 1154; and “Meeting with American

Art Archives,” notes dated April 17, 1979, page 4, 3EP

Ltd. records, reel 3534, frame 265–68.

8. David Winter, “‘Devotion’ inspires a new fine arts

press,” Peninsula Times Tribune (Palo Alto), April 2,

1981, C11.

9. Sam Francis: Self-Portraits, pamphlet for 3EP Ltd.,

3EP Ltd. records, reel 3535, frame 215–18.

10. The Andersons donated Still’s Untitled (PH-174)

(1960) to SFMOMA in 1974.

11. Patricia Still, letter to Henry Hopkins, March 20,

1974, copy in the artist file, Anderson Collection


12. The letter also contains a very telling statement

about 1947-Y (PH-144) (1947), the painting still in the

possession of the Andersons. Apparently, Mark

Rothko had brought the work back to New York from

San Francisco in 1949, when both artists had been

teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute. According

to Still, Rothko kept the painting on view in his apartment

for six years. Still explains, “It of course

commanded the interest of the entire art world in or

visiting New York. The influence on the structural

elements of Rothko’s work that followed need

scarcely be mentioned.” Patricia Still, letter to Hunk

Anderson, April 9, 1974, artist file, Anderson

Collection offices.

13. Patricia Still, letter to Harry W. Anderson, April 18,

1996, artist files, Anderson Collection offices.

14. Philip Guston, letter to the Andersons, January 12,

1979, page 3, artist file, Anderson Collection offices.

The extant correspondence also articulates the

Andersons’ passion for Guston’s work: “Oh! Yes, we

saw the prints you did with Gemini. We liked them so

much we bought all 8 of the first releases.” Hunk

Anderson, letter to Philip Guston, April 12, 1980, artist

file, Anderson Collection offices.

15. Guston’s influence on subsequent generations of

painters has been well documented. See, for example,

Neal Benezra, “Renewing Modernism,” in

Celebrating Modern Art, 186. Also see Stephen

Westfall, “Elizabeth Murray: Scary Funny,” Art in

America 94 (January 2006): 76.

16. Putter Anderson Pence became a partner in 3EP,

taking over for Kirkeby and Goldyne in 1983. In 1986

she opened the Pence Gallery in Santa Monica.

17. Putter’s role in the development of the collection

is detailed in Teagle, “A Modern Touch,” 26–27.

18. Putter Anderson Pence, recorded telephone interview

with the author, February 8, 2013. All

subsequent remarks by Putter in the essay that are

not otherwise cited are from this conversation.

19. Robert Therrien, recorded telephone interview

with the author, March 1, 2013.

20. It is worth noting that the Andersons always have

abided by a policy of not meeting an artist until after

they have already purchased work by that individual.

21. Winters, recorded telephone interview with the

author, February 21, 2013.

22. I thank Carolyn Kastner for bringing this event to

my attention—and Hunk and Moo for confirming the

details during our conversations.

Figure 13

Sean Scully, card for Hunk’s ninetieth

birthday, 2012

Figure 14

Terry Winters, card for Hunk’s ninetieth

birthday, 2012

Figure 15

Vija Celmins, card for Hunk’s ninetieth

birthday, 2012












Among the small gems in the magnificent Anderson Collection at

Stanford University is a sculpture by Sam Richardson, Most of that

Iceberg is Below the Water (1969; fig. 1, pl. 14). Meticulously crafted

of foam, polyester resin, fiberglass, lacquers, and other materials,

the diminutive work represents the white peak of an iceberg jutting

up from a frozen block of deep blue water. Below the water’s surface,

the bulk of the iceberg spreads downward to create a dense

stratum of blue-shaded white, resting upon a base layer of inky

blue. Easily overlooked amidst the canonical masterworks of the

collection, Richardson’s quietly beautiful creation, through its thick

layers of translucent water and opaque ice, and through its slick

exterior faces, draws attention to a vital aesthetic concern that

engaged every artist represented in the collection: the dialectical

relationship between surface and depth. This essay will consider

selected works in the Anderson gift to Stanford, mostly from the

1950s and 1960s, in terms of their involvement with this dialectic.

Sculptors like Richardson create three-dimensional masses

and volumes that possess literal depth and are bounded by surfaces,

which may be either level or uneven (Richardson’s sculpture

features surfaces of both kinds). By contrast, painters confront

surfaces—typically flat—to be covered, wholly or partly, with

pigment. Through modeling (the use of light and shade to render

the appearance of mass and volume) and perspective, the painter

may create the illusion of depth “inside” the painting. Or, the

painter may actively deny any sense of depth by using flat forms

that assert the picture plane.

Most of the paintings in the collection from the post– World

War II decades emphasize to a greater or lesser degree the flatness

of the picture surface, a quality that many critics and historians

have recognized as a fundamental feature of modernist painting. 1

The drive toward pictorial flatness was led in the later decades of

the nineteenth century by Impressionists such as Claude Monet

and Post-Impressionists such as Paul Cézanne. They continued the

realist objective of representing nature but did so through the use

of unblended brushstrokes that declared the material quality of the

pigment itself, drawing attention both to the physical process of

painting and to the canvas as a surface covered with paint, rather

than a transparent window opening onto a scene behind it. Henri

Matisse’s use of broad unmodeled planes of color in his paintings

of circa 1910 furthered the impulse toward flatness, as did the

colorful gestural abstractions that Vasily Kandinsky began producing

in the years before World War I. The process culminated

in Kazimir Malevich’s completely nonobjective Suprematist paintings

(initiated in 1915), composed of flat geometric planes of color,

and Piet Mondrian’s Neoplastic compositions of the 1920s, which

present smooth blocks of red, yellow, or blue, crossed or boun ded

by horizontal and vertical black lines, and aligned to the edges of

the rectangular canvas, establishing a sense of unity between the

support and the shapes on its surface (see fig. 2). Malevich and

Mondrian both used pure, flat geometric forms to declare their art’s

liberation from the imitation of nature and to assert the painting’s

status as a thing-in-itself, at once entirely present yet also outside

Figure 1 (PLATE 14)


Most of that Iceberg is Below the Water, 1969



2 3

of space and time—simultaneously immanent and transcendent. 2

The achievements of Malevich and Mondrian informed the

work of later nonobjective painters represented in the Anderson

Collection, who used planar geometric forms aligned with the

framing edges of the canvas to deny spatial recession and assert

the picture surface. John McLaughlin’s elegant #13 (1962; pl. 90)

features a bracingly simple composition of four alternating, hardedged

vertical bands of white and black—narrow and broad, then

broad and narrow—achieving a sense of complementary balance.

Influenced not only by his study of Malevich and Mondrian but also

by his serious engagement with Japanese art, McLaughlin used

white much as his favorite Japanese painter, Sesshu, left large

empty spaces in his compositions, invoking the Zen concept of ma,

the “marvelous void” that can induce a state of contemplation. 3

Also merging a deep interest in Zen philosophy with a commitment

to the tradition of nonobjective painting inaugurated by

Malevich, Ad Reinhardt during the 1950s painted increasingly

reductive geometric abstractions that culminated in his series

of “black” paintings (1960–66), each executed on a five-by-fivefoot

square canvas. While these pictures, such as the Anderson

Collection’s Abstract Painting, 1966 (1966; pl. 42), appear at first

to be uniformly black, close observation reveals that their surfaces

are divided into a cruciform grid of squares comprising subtly

different shades of black evenly applied without visible brushwork,

as if not made by human hands. (It is astonishing that Reinhardt

painted these perfect squares freehand, without the aid of masking

tape, using thinned oil paint that he applied from above on a canvas

laid horizontally.) Absolutely impersonal and self-contained,

Reinhardt’s black paintings manifest his commitment to “art as

art”—his quest to create “a pure, abstract, non-objective, timeless,

spaceless, changeless, relationless, disinterested painting— an

object that is self-conscious (no unconsciousness), ideal, transcendent,

aware of no thing but art”—essentially a thing-in-itself. 4

In contrast to Reinhardt’s virtually colorless paintings, with their

rigorously symmetrical compositions and almost miraculously

smooth surfaces, Hans Hofmann’s so-called “slab” paintings—

exemplified by the Anderson Collection’s superb Fall Euphony (1959;

fig. 3, pl. 30)—feature rectangles of different shapes and sizes, in a

wide range of vivid hues, unpredictably placed, often overlapping,

and laid down with thick paint that accentuates the rich materiality

of the pigment-covered surface. Both through their variations in

color and their overlapping configurations, the slabs create a

dynamic tension between surface and depth—the famous “pushpull”

that Hofmann used to create space without recourse to modeling

and perspective, and without violating the integrity of the

picture plane. “Depth as a plastic reality must be two dimensional

in a formal sense as well as in a sense of color,” he wrote. “‘Depth’ is

not created on a flat surface as an illusion, but as a plastic reality.” 5

Hofmann’s emphasis on the sensuous physical substance of

paint itself, actively spread across the field of the canvas, aligns his

work with that of other mid-century abstractionists who stressed

the gestural handling of paint. None did so more audaciously than

Figure 2


Tableau 2, with Yellow, Black, Blue, Red and

Grey, 1922

Oil on canvas

21 7 ⁄8 × 21 1 ⁄8 inches

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

© 2014 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust c/o HCR


Figure 3 (PLATE 30)


Fall Euphony, 1959 (detail)




Jackson Pollock, who made his landmark drip paintings by working

on the floor and attacking the canvas from every direction with

liquid paint to generate dynamic linear compositions such as

Lucifer (1947; pl. 19). The finished painting gives ample evidence

of Pollock’s process of creating it. He first applied swaths of cream

over grays to form a base layer over which he splashed patches of

aluminum gray; thinner skeins of black; spots of bright yellow,

orange, and blue; and finally several spidery throws of moss green.

The result is an airy, open web of surface lines through which the

viewer can peer and perceive, in T. J. Clark’s words, “the feeling

of far, essentially unobstructed distances presenting themselves

on the other side of the foreground veil.” 6 This sense of depth

behind or below the picture plane resonates with Pollock’s understanding

of his art as emerging from the unconscious, conceived

of as a psychic layer lying beneath the conscious mind—much like

Sam Richardson’s submerged iceberg. 7

Many of the flung paint lines in Pollock’s Lucifer extend to the

edges of the canvas and can be imagined to continue beyond them,

creating a sense of potentially limitless extension. Such a quality

is even more fundamental to Clyfford Still’s magisterial 1957-J No.

1 (PH-142) (1957; fig. 4, pl. 31), with its broad, jagged-edged planes

of dry color that seemingly rise from the base of the vast canvas

and climb to its crown. Still’s craggy, abutting expanses of rusty

red and dense black open up to reveal tan oases of raw canvas,

many encircling small islands of icy white paint. Scattered accents

of brighter hues—orange, yellow, and blue—serve as foils to the

overall starkness of the palette. Two small vertical slivers of dark

blue, one at center right and another at upper left, noticeably rest

atop the colors below them; they are the painting’s only prominent

instances of spatial overlap, throwing into relief the overall flatness

upon which Still insisted when he spoke of using “texture to kill a

color, color to kill space.” 8 The deeply philosophical artist likely

understood this frank declaration of the painted surface in ethical

terms, describing his art as “an instrument of thought which would

aid in cutting through all cultural opiates, past and present, so that

a direct, immediate, and truly free vision could be achieved, and

an idea be revealed with clarity.” 9

Compared to the clarity that Still sought in paintings such as

1957-J No. 1, Mark Rothko’s stately composition in the Anderson

Collection from the same year, with its stacked, soft-edged rectangles

of white and orange-red set against a dusky pink ground,

courts ambiguity (pl. 32). Whereas Still laid on thick pigment with

a palette knife, Rothko applied thin paint with brushes, sponges,

and rags to achieve a flat and impalpable surface as well as to

generate subtly complex spatial dynamics, as the blurred rectangles

seem by turns to hover, to radiate forward, and to sink mysteriously

into atmospheric depths, inviting an emotional response from the

viewer. This was indeed what Rothko sought; he understood his

art not in strictly formal terms but as “dealing with human emotion:

with the human drama as much as I can possibly experience it.” 10

Rothko’s use of thin paint that bled into the canvas rather than

resting on its surface, combined with the example of Pollock’s drip

Figure 4 (PLATE 31)


1957-J No. 1 (PH-142), 1957 (detail)



5 6

technique, informed the Color Field painters of the 1950s and 1960s

who poured liquid pigment onto unprimed canvases to stain them

with color—a method pioneered by Helen Frankenthaler, whose

“soak-stain” style is seen in the Anderson Collection’s Approach

(1962; pl. 117). Inspired by Frankenthaler’s precedent, Morris Louis

worked by tacking unprimed canvas onto a large stretcher and

pouring paint down its surface, tilting the stretcher to control the

streams of pigment. Using quick-drying acrylic paint thinned to

the consistency of watercolor, Louis layered several colors to

produce fan-like patterns of subtly blended, close-valued hues

that came to be called “veils”; two such works are in the Anderson

Collection. In the diaphanous Pendulum (1954; fig. 5, pl. 37), the

spills of color establish a sense of visual depth, with denser hues

on the surface overlapping paler and purer colors below. In the

later Number 64 (1958; pl. 41), Louis achieved a more unified field

of fulsome color, presented, in the words of John Elderfield, “as a

flat, heraldic, bilaterally symmetrical unit, firmly rested on the base

of the picture and floated just free on the other three sides.” 11

The formalist critic Clement Greenberg praised Louis for fusing

color and surface to achieve a “purely optical” art of disembodied

color devoid of tactile associations. 12 Willem de Kooning, by contrast,

regularly evoked bodily and tactile sensations through palpable

pigment laid down with gestural brushstrokes. De Kooning

nevertheless retained the modernist concern to deny deep spatial

recession and assert the canvas surface, both in his completely

nonobjective paintings and in his abstracted figurative works.

Even though some passages of de Kooning’s arresting Woman

Standing—Pink (1954–55; fig. 6, pl. 18) feature overlapping brushstrokes

that create an impression of depth, the figure seems largely

to float on the picture plane rather than to stand within a fictive

three-dimensional environment. This is due not only to her lack of

feet and a ground to stand on—de Kooning left broad unpainted

areas of primed canvas along the left edge and bottom quarter—

but also due to the active brushstrokes and charcoal lines that

draw attention to the canvas as a vigorously marked and stroked

surface, as well as to the woman’s iconic pose—frontal, centered,

and largely symmetrical—which, for all of the turbulent paint

handling, shares the balanced, heraldic quality noted by Elderfield

in Louis’s Number 64.

In contrast to de Kooning’s rigid woman surrounded on several

sides by a void, the subject of Richard Diebenkorn’s Girl on the

Beach (1957; pl. 7) assumes a relaxed seated pose within a legible

outdoor environment. Diebenkorn creates perspective by means

of the figure’s overlapping and diagonally disposed body parts,

and invests her with qualities of mass and volume by modeling her

face, neck, and legs. The deep blue shadows on the lower part her

skirt and the ground below suggest that she actually rests on

the beach, which itself seems to possess depth due to the blues

glimpsed beneath the sandy beige. Diebenkorn nevertheless contradicts

spatial depth as much as he declares it by using juicy,

gestural paint strokes that energize the surface, and by locking

the figure into the picture’s compositional structure, most notably

Figure 5 (PLATE 37)


Pendulum, 1954 (detail)

Figure 6 (PLATE 18)


Woman Standing—Pink, 1954–55



7 8

by aligning the top of her head with that of the blue band of water

that stretches horizontally across the canvas, forecasting similar

bands that would later appear in the artist’s celebrated Ocean

Park abstractions.

More frankly representational than Diebenkorn’s picture,

Wayne Thiebaud’s Candy Counter (1962; fig. 7, pl. 8) presents a

curiously sparse array of delectable treats including candy apples

and cut cakes inside a display case whose top bears a box of suckers

and a scale. Thiebaud gives his objects illusionistic mass and

volume through modeling and the delineation of shadows, and

renders the appearance of depth within the display case through

the use of perspective-creating diagonals. Yet he employs perspective

inconsistently: the orthogonals formed at the right by the

top and interior edges of the counter converge toward a different

vanishing point than do those formed by the tray edges inside the

display—the left two of which are in fact parallel, defying the rules

of perspective altogether. Furthermore, Thiebaud, in the manner

of Cézanne, employs a shifting viewpoint, presenting the items

within the case from an elevated vantage point while those on top

are viewed frontally. These disparities remind us that the painting,

unlike the display case it purports to depict, is not a transparent

window onto physical reality but an aesthetic creation—a flat

surface artfully covered with pigment. Frankly asserting the picture

plane are the solid bands of dark gray, light blue, and light gray

that stretch across much of it, while the rich impasto insists on the

tactile reality of the painted surface.

Thiebaud’s use of paint in an almost sculptural way—most

famously, to mimic the physical texture of cake frosting—leads

finally to a consideration of the exploration of surface and depth

in sculpture itself. Prior to the twentieth century, sculpture,

whether carved out of a hard medium like stone or modeled in a

soft medium like clay and then cast in bronze or another material,

was largely a figurative art of three-dimensional masses and volumes

possessing literal depth and bounded by surfaces constituting

the object’s skin, often that of the represented figure. Many

modernist sculptors not only rejected figuration but also challenged

the tradition of the massive, monolithic sculptural object,

seeking instead to deemphasize mass and open the work up to its

surrounding environment. Enabling this move was the new method

of assemblage, whereby the sculpture was built up out of preformed

elements that could extend into space.

A mid-twentieth-century master of assembled sculpture,

David Smith made open-form, welded metal sculptures whose

linear elements constituted a sort of three-dimensional drawing,

often called “drawing in space.” Fashioned out of silver rather than

Smith’s signature medium of steel, the splendid Timeless Clock

(1957; fig. 8, pl. 26) in the Anderson Collection has little depth; its

slender bars, arcs, and slabs form a composition intended to be

viewed from the front, much like a drawing. 13 Also presented frontally

is Louise Nevelson’s Sky Garden (1959–64; pl. 50), assembled

out of found wooden elements painted a uniform black and arranged

into abstract compositions within open boxes stacked to

Figure 7 (PLATE 8)


Candy Counter, 1962

Figure 8 (PLATE 26)


Timeless Clock, 1957




form a vertical wall- like structure. Layered and silhouetted against

the recesses of the boxes, Nevelson’s wooden forms read as positive

elements against negative spaces whose spectral depth is

enhanced by shadows.

While Nevelson’s black wall relief embraces darkness, Bruce

Beasley’s acrylic sculpture Killyboffin (1968; pl. 13) welcomes—

indeed requires—light to animate its surfaces and illuminate its

depths. Unlike Nevelson’s multipartite composition aligned to the

horizontal and vertical axes of a grid, Beasley’s sculpture is a

single, cast volume whose jutting projections and undulating surfaces

suggest organic rather than geometric qualities. And unlike

Nevelson’s boxes partially concealing wooden elements within

their shadowy cavities, Beasley’s work is fully transparent, inviting

the viewer not only to savor its gleaming, reflective surfaces but

also to sense the thickness of its crystalline masses and to see

through them to the sculpture’s surrounding environment.

Similarly transparent and responsive to light, Larry Bell’s Glass

Cube (1984; pl. 91) is, unlike Beasley’s Killyboffin, hollow, not solid.

Composed of six squares of chrome-edged glass whose interior

faces have been thinly coated with metallic compounds that,

through variations in density, either promote or impede the passage

of light through the glass, Bell’s cube summons oscillating

awareness of both its surfaces and depths—the former ranging in

quality from reflective opacity to smoky translucency, depending

upon the angle from which they are viewed. Notwithstanding the

pure geometric character of its glass elements—which are, after

all, square planes just like those painted by Ad Reinhardt—Bell’s

Glass Cube is not a “relationless” thing-in-itself but a contingent

object whose appearance constantly changes in relation to the

circumstances of its viewing.

Unlike Bell’s and Beasley’s transparent, non-representational

works, Robert Arneson’s Sinking Brick Plates (1969; fig. 9, pl. 21) are

opaque, representational ceramic objects whose surfaces bear shiny

glazes. With characteristic humor, Arneson’s work of ceramic art

takes as its subject matter two utilitarian items—bricks and plates—

that are also made of baked clay. In the manner of time-lapse photography,

the set of five sculptural units depicts successive stages

of a brick sinking in a pool of water—an event that in reality would

happen in a split second but that Arneson weirdly decelerates and

renders all the stranger by presenting the brick like a floating boat

that goes down bow first. Deepening the work’s surreal quality is

the shallowness of the plate, which could not logically contain sufficient

water to cover the brick that appears to sink into it. Unlike

Sam Richardson’s sculpture that shows us the base of the iceberg

beneath the water’s surface, Arneson’s compels us to imagine the

brick sunk beneath the plate—a physical impossibility that we are

coaxed to admit as somehow possible. Prolonged contemplation of

the disarming yet compelling sculpture will surely bring to mind

additional philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. Indeed, beneath

its appealing surfaces, and beyond its wry humor, Arneson’s Sinking

Brick Plates is—like every work in the breathtaking Anderson

Collection at Stanford University— a work of considerable depth.

Figure 9 (PLATE 21)


Sinking Brick Plates, 1969 (detail)




This essay is dedicated to the memory of Michelle

Meyers, my indispensable friend and colleague during

our years together as Anderson Collection interns,

and to Hunk and Moo Anderson and Putter Anderson

Pence in gratitude for the tremendous generosity they

have shown to me and to so many others.

1. See, most famously, Clement Greenberg,

“Modernist Painting” (1960), reprinted in John O’Brian,

ed., Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and

Criticism—Volume 4, Modernism with a Vengeance,

1957–1969 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

1986), 85–94.

2. See Mark Rosenthal, Abstraction in the Twentieth

Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline (New York:

Guggenheim Museum, 1996), 39. The concept of the

“thing-in-itself” was developed by Immanuel Kant in

the eighteenth century.

3. Peter Selz, “Abstract Classicism Reexamined,” in

John McLaughlin: Western Modernism, Eastern

Thought (Laguna Beach, CA: Laguna Art Museum,

1996), 65.

4. Ad Reinhardt, “Autocritique de Reinhardt” (1963),

reprinted in Barbara Rose, ed., Art-as-Art: The

Selected Writings of Ad Reinhardt (New York: Viking

Press, 1975), 83.

5. Hans Hofmann, “The Search for the Real in the

Visual Arts,” in Hofmann, Search for the Real and

Other Essays, ed. Sarah T. Weeks and Bartlett H.

Hayes Jr. (Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American

Art, Phillips Academy, 1948), 50.

6. T. J. Clark, “Jackson Pollock’s Lucifer,” in

Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection

(San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern

Art; and Berkeley: University of California Press,

2000), 50.

7. On this aspect of Pollock’s art see Michael Leja,

“Jackson Pollock: Representing the Unconscious,” Art

History (December 1990): 542–65.

8. Clyfford Still, quoted in Jean Reeves, “Albright-

Knox to Present Rare Show by Clyfford Still,” Buffalo

Evening News, January 10, 1963; quoted in David

Anfam, “Clyfford Still’s Art: Between the Quick and

the Dead,” in James T. Demetrion, ed., Clyfford Still:

Paintings 1944–1960 (Washington, DC: Hirshhorn

Museum and Sculpture Garden; and New Haven:

Yale University Press, 2001), 37.

9. Still, letter to Gordon Smith, director, Albright

Art Gallery, January 1, 1959, published in Paintings by

Clyfford Still (Buffalo: Buffalo Fine Arts Academy,

1959), n.p.

10. Mark Rothko, quoted in Dore Ashton, “Art:

Lecture by Rothko,” New York Times, October 31, 1958.

11. John Elderfield, Morris Louis (New York: Museum

of Modern Art, 1986), 48.

12. Greenberg, “Louis and Noland” (1960), reprinted

in O’Brian, Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays

and Criticism—Volume 4, 97.

13. This sculpture’s first owner, William Rubin, wrote

that “Timeless Clock, perhaps more than any other of

[Smith’s] pieces, resembles a drawing.” Rubin

observed that the “malleability of the silver” allowed

Smith to give Timeless Clock its “special character.”

Rubin, letter to the author, October 4, 1990.





ROBERT ARNESON ——— 87, 129






LARRY BELL ——— 1 74











R OY DE FOREST ——— 1 17

WILLEM DE KOONING ——— 78, 1 70

JAY DEFEO ——— 140

TONY DELAP ——— 153

R ICHARD DIEBENKORN ——— 66, 67, 1 15


SAM FRANCIS ——— 71, 126






PHILIP GUSTON ——— 1 18, 120

AL HELD ——— 132, 134


TO M HOLLAND ——— 121


BRYAN HUNT ——— 199


BILL JENSEN ——— 189, 190, 193




MARK LERE ——— 177

FRANK LOBDELL ——— 136, 137

MORR IS LOUIS ——— 108, 1 12–13



JOHN MASON ——— 2 13




ED MOSES ——— 143

ROBERT MOTHERWELL ——— 70, 138–39

ELIZABETH MURRAY ——— 154, 178, 188



KENNETH NOLAND ——— 91, 106

JULES OLITSKI ——— 109, 155

NATHAN OLIVEIRA ——— 59, 64, 65






MARTIN PURYEAR ——— 182, 185

HARVEY QUAYTMAN ——— 1 71, 1 72



SUSAN ROTHENBERG ——— 162, 195, 204

MARK ROTHKO ——— 93, 103

SEAN SCULLY ——— 1 75, 1 76, 194





DONALD SULTAN ——— 158, 160


ROBERT THERRIEN ——— 150, 151, 152, 181, 214



PETER VOULKOS ——— 77, 130

H. C. WESTERMANN ——— 168


TERRY WINTERS ——— 191, 192, 202–3

PA U L WONNER ——— 56, 57

The following plates represent the gift of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence.

They are organized roughly in order of acquisition by the Andersons. [Gaps in accession numbers (which are composed of the year a work was purchased, followed by its

order of acquisition in that year) reflect works still owned by the Andersons or those that have been deaccessioned.] Listed above are the artists represented in the gift,

along with page numbers of related plates for quick reference.


Gwen Allen

David Cateforis

Evelyn C. Hankins

Molly S. Hutton

Branden W. Joseph

Carolyn Kastner

Alexander Nemerov

Karen M. Rapp

John Seed

Rachel Teagle



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