In 1987, Jane and Robert Meyerhoff announced their pledge to donate their art collection to the National Gallery of Art, including many of the works currently on view in the de Young’s special exhibition Modernism from National Gallery of Art. But before they were given to the nation, these works first made up a personal collection that the couple had built and lived with for many years.
It was well known within the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) that chief executive William S. Paley would always set aside what he was working on to take a call from The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Paley’s relationship with MoMA began in 1937, just eight years after its founding, and included roles as trustee, president, and chairman. His eventual donation of his collection to the museum—an important selection of modernist art—strengthened the institution in vital ways, and is the subject of The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism, which is on view through December 30 at the de Young. Paley's relationship with MoMA was built on great generosity, and continued until his death in 1990.