UT alumni give Blanton Museum $10 million worth of Latin American art

Kylie Fitzpatrick

The Blanton Museum of Art received a gift of 120 modern and contemporary Latin American artworks and an endowment contribution valued at a total of $10 million from UT alumni Judy and Charles Tate of Houston, museum officials announced Thursday. 

“With this gift, Charles and Judy have once again made a hugely valuable contribution to the life of UT-Austin,” President William Powers Jr. said in a statement Thursday. “This gift will continue to put us at the forefront as one of the country’s best museums for Latin American art and will provide many new opportunities for students, faculty and art historians.”

The gift enabled the museum to exceed its fundraising goal in “Campaign for Texas,” an eight-year, $3-billion University-wide fundraising effort ending Aug. 31. The Tates’ donation of $1 million will create an endowment for a curator of Latin American art.

Works by Frida Kahlo and her partner Diego Rivera, best known for murals and paintings in Mexico and the U.S., and Joaquín Torres-García, founder of the School of the South that brought geometric abstraction to artists in South America, are among the works donated to the Blanton.

Blanton spokeswoman Kathleen Stimpert said the museum is already a major institution in the field of Latin American art whose legacy of exhibitions and scholarship in the field goes back to 1988, when it became the first museum in the U.S. to establish a Latin American art curator position. 

“We were one of the first institutions in the United States to begin collecting in any serious way Latin American art and presenting it as an important part of the art historical canon,” Stimpert said. 

The museum’s holdings in the field of Latin American art have grown to 2,200 pieces, after starting with a donation of 54 paintings by Texas collectors John and Barbara Duncan in 1971. 

Beverly Adams, the inaugural Charles and Judy Tate curator of Latin American art, started working at the museum in January. Among her first endeavors has been the planning of “La Línea Continua,” an exhibition starting Sept. 20 that will include a selection of approximately 70 works from the Tates’ collection.