Art collector dies at 89 – ARTnews.com

Douglas S. Cramer, a television producer who amassed a vast collection filled with top-notch works by Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly and others, has died, according to the Hollywood journalist. He was 89 years old.

Cramer ran Paramount Television and was instrumental in launching shows such as The ship of love, wonder woman, Dynasty, Impossible mission, and more to mass success. With the fortune he gathered, he bought hundreds of works of art. He has also served on the boards of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In a 2012 interview with Christie’s, Cramer spoke of three artists who became cornerstones of his collection: Johns, Kelly and Roy Lichtenstein, all of whom Cramer knew personally. Over time, its collection has come to include an array of artists spanning multiple generations, including David Salle, Julian Schnabel, Joel Shapiro, Cecily Brown, Frank Stella, Susan Rothenberg, Mark Grotjahn, and many more.

Related Articles

Richard Koshalek, the former director of MOCA, once told the Los Angeles Times that Cramer’s collection was “extraordinary”. Cramer ranked on the ART news List of the top 200 collectors 17 times between 1990 and 2008.

Born in 1931, Cramer moved to California in 1966 and eventually built a sprawling home for his holdings in Santa Ynez, about 40 minutes north of Santa Barbara. When in 1997 Cramer announced his intention to sell 22 sculptures from his collection at Christie’s and said he would move to New York, the Los Angeles Times called it “a major life change that represents a loss to Southern California.” Later he moved to Miami.

Cramer had become influential in Southern California because he helped form Los Angeles’ MOCA in 1979. In a 1995 vanity lounge interview, Cramer credited television executive Barry Lowen with helping introduce a growing crop of collectors, including himself, to the work of artists like Eric Fischl and Donald Judd, and gallerists like Larry Gagosian. Alongside collectors like Michael Ovitz, Eli Broad and Donald L. Bren, Cramer was often credited at the time with stimulating interest in buying art among Hollywood’s elite at the time. By the time Cramer left MOCA’s board of trustees in 1996, he had served as chairman of the board and donated a host of important works to the museum.

When Cramer left his Santa Ynez ranch, works from his collection were also donated to the Tate in London, MoMA, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Among the works received by MoMA was that of Kelly Three panels: orange, dark grey, green (1986), a 34-foot-long painting made up of three giant solid color swatches. “That’s exactly the kind of Kelly we didn’t have,” said then-MoMA director Kirk Varnedoe. New York Times.

Periodically, Cramer parted with works from his collection at auction. In 2012, he sold $25 million worth of paintings and sculptures at Christie’s, including works by Johns and Kelly. But for the most part, Cramer rarely sold the art he owned, mostly because he enjoyed admiring the work. In 2014, he tells Architectural Summary, “I’ve always loved looking at and owning things.”

Norma D. Ross