The art world is abuzz with the recent announcement that German billionaires Erivan and Helga Haub (owners of Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop) have donated 280 works of American Western art to the Tacoma Art Museum. And, in a move that resolves the age-old issue of “now where are we going to put it?” — they’ve pledged money toward a 10,000-square-foot wing at TAM, which will nearly double the existing space. The donation inlcudes works by Frederic Remington, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles M. Russell, Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt and John Mix Stanley, the self-taught painter whose “Scene on the Columbia River” is shown here. Many of these artists led colorful, adventurous lives that are as intriguing as their works: the New York-born Stanley traveled with Stephen Kearny’s Army of the West; Russell really was a Montana cowboy; Bierstadt journeyed to Oregon and California with writer Fitz Hugh Ludlow (“The Hasheesh Eater”); and O’Keeffe was not only an art pioneer but a trailblazer for women in art school and in the art world.
Speaking of TAM: The final numbers are in for the recently closed “Hide/Seek” exhibit, for which Tacoma Art Museum was its only West Coast stop. The museum reports that the exhibit’s opening party was the largest in museum history; the show brought a 30% increase in visitors; and it resulted in a permanent extension of ‘Late Night Thursday” hours (to 8 p.m.).