African masks, a French Art Nouveau glass vase and paintings by an African-American artist are among the gifts two alumni recently donated to the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College.
“These are major gifts and tremendous additions to our collection. They will offer rich future learning and research opportunities for F&M students,” said Amy Moorefield, director of the museum. “We are extremely grateful to these donors and alumni for their philanthropic spirit.”
Rita and Waldo Falkener '65 donated African masks and ritual objects from various geographic areas that Moorefield said are important to the museum’s African culture collection.
“We have not had previous examples of this caliber in our collection,” Moorefield said. One of the masks is a reliquary guardian figure from the Kota people, dating from the early 20th century. “We have just installed a very large and important Bedu mask from the Nafana group, Senufo people of West Africa, in our Nissley Gallery. The mask was worn during seasonal ceremonies.”
Jennifer and Mark Kuhn '85, who sponsored the Phillips Museum’s 2013 Hudson River School exhibit, donated important examples of American art including two paintings by Edward Bannister, a Canadian-born artist of Caribbean descent whose work was influenced by the Barbizon and Hudson River school. “One of the two new Bannister paintings has just been hung in our Nissley Gallery.”
The couple also donated two portraits by Lancaster-born painter Jacob Eichholtz, as well as the works of other early American artists, and an important French Art Nouveau vase by the Daum Studio in France. At age 11, Eichholtz attended the grammar school at Franklin College, which later became Franklin & Marshall College.