de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Building Forward/Looking Back

February 13 - March 16, 2014
and April 10 - June 15, 2014

Kirkeby portrait

Since the de Saisset Museum opened its doors in 1955, we have been blessed with many supporters—Santa Clara University, individuals, and granting organizations—who have invested in our future in a variety of ways. Though we are grateful for the breadth of support we have received, we are particularly indebted to one individual who has been with us every step of the way for decades. For more than thirty years Paula Z. Kirkeby has shown this organization incredible generosity. She has shared her time, her thoughts, her resources, and her connections. And, most importantly, she has supported the growth of the museum's permanent collection through personal gifts, financial contributions, and her network of collectors and artists.

Building Forward/Looking Back highlights a small portion of the gifts that have come into the de Saisset Museum's collection with the assistance of Kirkeby. A collector and fine art dealer, Kirkeby is also the founder and owner of Smith Andersen Editions—a nationally recognized fine art press based in Palo Alto, California. Over the years, Smith Andersen has invited some of the most important artists from the Bay Area and beyond to hold residencies at the press. In 1984 Kirkeby made an unprecedented commitment to the de Saisset Museum, and started gift the Smith Andersen Editions Archive to the permanent collection. As a result, each time an artist is invited to work at the press, the de Saisset Museum receives a gift of one print created during that residency. Today, the museum holds nearly 170 works from the archive.

In addition to the prints from Smith Andersen Editions, Paula Kirkeby and her late husband Phillip have consistently demonstrated their dedication to the de Saisset Museum through repeated personal gifts to the collection. Kirkeby has also been instrumental in building connections between artists and collectors and the museum, making fruitful introductions, and helping to secure important acquisitions.

Building Forward is designed not only to highlight the works on display but to honorKirkeby's longstanding commitment to the organization. For more than three decades, she has demonstrated unwavering belief in our vision, and a genuine dedication to ensuring that we are constantly building toward a better future.

Image: Paula and Phillip Kirkeby viewing Bruce Conner's Go Ask Tucker (1961), which became part of the museum's permanent collection in 1987.
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