Mary Margaret ‘Moo’ Anderson, pioneer art collector and museum donor, recalls

Left to right: Mary Patricia “Putter” Anderson Pence, Harry “Hunk” Anderson and Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson at home in front of works by Donald Sultan and Terry Winters. (2013)
Photo by Linda Cicero.

Art collector Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson died Oct. 22 at her San Francisco Bay Area home, Stanford News reports. She was 92 years old.

Boston-born Moo Anderson was known to have amassed a large collection of post-war American art with her late husband, Harry “Hunk” Anderson (deceased in 2018). After 50 years of collecting, the couple and their daughter, Mary Patricia “Putter” Anderson Pence, have pledged the best examples of 20th century American art to Stanford University. In 2014, a new $ 30 million Ennead Architects building opened for the Anderson Collection at Stanford University with 121 works by 86 artists, one of the greatest art gifts ever given to a American institution.

“I think to appreciate art you have to share it,” Moo said.

Showcasing notable examples from New York School and Bay Area Figuration, the collection spans abstract expressionism, color field painting, post-minimalism, Californian funk art, and light and space. Artists represented include Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Morris Louis, Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, David Park, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella and Wayne Thiebaud. Some of the most popular works include Jackson Pollock Lucifer, Willem de Kooning Standing Woman – Pink, by Richard Diebenkorn Ocean park # 60, Sam Francis’ Red in red, Philip Guston The Coat II, Ellsworth Kelly ripe black and Clyfford Still’s 1957-J n ° 1.

The Anderson Collection at Stanford University, completed by Ennead Architects in 2014.
image: Stanford University

“Probably no private collection,” wrote Chronicle of San Francisco critic Kenneth Baker at the time of the gift, “better illustrates the course of American art since World War II than that of … Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson.”

Mary Margaret Ransford was born on November 1, 1926 and in 1950 married Hunk Anderson. They settled in California in 1964. The couple were first inspired by the art collection during a trip to the Louvre in the early 1960s. They fell at first for Matisse and Picasso, but quickly turned to post-war American artists, from Pollock to Rothko.

Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley No. 26, 1954, oil on canvas. © The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.
Anderson Collection at Stanford University

James Cuno, President and CEO of the Getty Trust, once said that the Andersons “defined their field early on and pursued it with vigor and good taste.”

“Moo Anderson will be forever remembered for his love of art, but also for his love of sharing art,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “At the start of her and Hunk’s collection, she listened to and learned from curators and art historians, and spent a lot of time examining works of art in museums, galleries and artists’ studios. in person. She opened her house so that students could have the same experience of researching and learning art. We are deeply grateful to Moo and Hunk for trusting Stanford to be the custodians of their remarkable collection and allow people of all ages to experience it every day.

In addition to works of art, Moo has developed an extensive library of art books, catalogs and ephemera related to the art, artists and movements represented in the couple’s collection. These resources were donated to the Denning Family Resource Center at Stanford.

“The Anderson’s collection philosophy was based on their equal faith in head and hands – ingenuity as well as craftsmanship. What it doesn’t mention is that Moo and Hunk both led with their hearts out, ”said Jason Linetzky, director of the Anderson collection. “Moo’s gifts of passion, warmth and belief that great art belongs to the world will forever energize the collection and the students and guests who visit and learn from it.”

Since its inception five years ago, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University has grown thanks to major art donations from other private collectors, including contemporary works such as that of Mary Weatherford. black paint, 2017.

The Andersons have made other extraordinary bequests, including works by Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Robert Rauschenberg and many others, to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and 655 prints to the Museums of Fine Arts. -arts of San Francisco.

In November 2018, Christie’s donated around 200 works from the Anderson Collection, including a work on paper by Philip Guston which climbed to $ 3.13 million.

“We will always remember Moo as an incredibly strong woman, a woman who expressed her opinions, made sure she had equality in her marriage and won the respect and admiration of people all over the place. horizons. She was savvy, thoughtful, curious and energetic, contributing 150% to everything she did, “Moo’s obituary read. “Like Hunk used to say, Moo was a tiger!”

Hunk passed away in February 2018. His company, Saga Corp., went public in the 1970s and was eventually sold to Marriott.

Moo is survived by his daughter Mary Patricia “Putter” Pence and granddaughter Devin Diane Pence.

Norma D. Ross