SCHENECTADY/GLENS FALLS — Longtime Stockade residents Werner Feibes and the late James Schmitt amassed an impressive collection of modern art by titans of the genre, and now Feibes is donating it to The Hyde Collection.
It’s the largest gift of modern art in more than 30 years at The Hyde.
“This is a transformational gift for The Hyde,” said Erin Coe, director of The Hyde Collection. “The Museum is largely known as a collection of Old Masters. The donation from Werner Feibes and James Schmitt now makes us a leading repository of Modern art in the region.”
The news of the donation was announced on the museum’s website on Friday.
Feibes and Schmitt were partners in their Schenectady architecture firm for 55 years. They were also partners in life, making their home in what was a run-down, but historic part of the city. They organized the Stockade Association and were instrumental in the historic preservation of what is now The Stockade District.
All along, Feibes and Schmitt had been collecting art, and that effort intensified when they retired and began to travel. They first encounted The Hyde in 1998 through Randall Suffolk, who was curator at the time, and later director. An exhibition of the collection followed in 2003.
On July 1, 2013 an article in The Daily Gazette eulogized Schmitt, who died at the age of 87, and told their story of work, love and collecting. They had married in 2013, just 2 months before Schmitt died.
The 55 items going to The Hyde on behalf of both men include works by Josef Albers, Sol LeWitt, Grace Hartigan, Ellsworth Kelly and Robert Motherwell. According to The Hyde’s announcement, the gift represents a third of the Feibes and Schmitt Collection, and the remaining two-thirds will go to the museum upon Feibes’ death.
Plans for exhibiting the donation are in the works.
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