Press Room /  Press Releases

For Immediate Release

February 9, 2012

Media Contacts:

McNay- Daniela Oliver, 210.805.1754

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SAMA, Robb Wasielewski, 615.424.5808

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Witte -Shannon H. Standley, 210.357.1876

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San Antonio Museums receive gifts from the Estate of Frances and Louis Wagner

McNay, SAMA, and Witte to use gift for their respective Lecture Series


San Antonio, TX- The McNay Art Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art, and Witte Museum, received a bequest of $800,000 per institution from the estate of Frances and Louis Wagner for an endowment to provide annual support for their lecture series. The Wagners were longtime members of these institutions and had underwritten a number of special lectures in the past. McNay director William J. Chiego stated, "These major bequests are a demonstration ofthe Wagners' extraordinary generosity and wide range of interests. Over the years they sponsored a variety of distinguished speakers at the McNay, and it is wonderful to continue that tradition." Marise McDermott, President & CEO of the Witte, added "These funds enable the Witte to present informative and engaging discussions to the community of San Antonio and South Texas, ensuring the Witte remains a safe haven for public discourse."


The San Antonio Museum of Art received an initial gift from the Wagners in 2000 to establish the Louis A. and Frances B. Wagner Lecture Series.  This most recent gift added $800,000 in principal to this existing endowment, and according to SAMA Director Katie Luber, "it will continue to allow the San Antonio Museum of Art to present several diverse and enriching lectures annually from some of the world's most renowned experts in every aspect of the arts."


There is no doubt this generous gift is an important contribution to San Antonio and its residents, who will surely enjoy enriching lectures at their beloved museums.


Upcoming Lectures

McNay - TBA


Friday, April 13 at 7:00 pm. "Theodore Gentilz and the Discovery of Place" by Dr. William Keyse Rudolph, Curator of American Art and Decorative Arts the Milwaukee Art Museum;


French-born Theodore Gentilz was one of the earliest professional artists in San Antonio, whose images of his adopted city are some of the most distinctive and earliest images of Texas scenery.  This lecture examines the career of this important Texas Old Master, relating his scenes of San Antonio to European and American traditions of landscape painting.


Sunday, April 15 at 3:00 pm. "Ariadne's Thread: Antiquity Reawakened in Modern Art" by Jens Daehner, Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Museum.


In the early 20th-century, avant-garde artists like Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico, Fernand Léger, and Francis Picabia looked to classical antiquity to feed their imaginations. In a recent exhibition their work was juxtaposed with ancient objects, continuing a dialogue between the modern and the antique that is still alive today. Jens Daehner, curator of antiquities at the Getty Villa in Malibu, explores how modern artists transformed and reinvented the antique and how they have shaped the ways in which we now perceive classical art.



Darwin in Depth, in conjunction with the Texas debut of Darwin: How Man's Theory Turned the World on its Head, opening February 18, 2012.  In 1831, Charles Darwin set sail aboard the HMS Beagle on an extraordinary voyage that would lead to his groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection. This theory turned the world on its head and remains unchallenged as the key principle of modern biology.  Join the Witte Museum for our own journey of discovery with an exciting series of presentations: Wednesday, February 29, 6-8 p.m., Meet the Curator! An Interactive Evening of Questions and Answers about Evolution; Wednesday, March 7, 6-8 p.m., From the Beagle to the Business of Biotech; Wednesday, April 11, 6-8 p.m., Mysteries of Mass Extinctions; and Wednesday, June 6, 6-8 p.m., Darwin's Dilemma: When Science and Faith Collide. Darwin in Depth is free admission. Reservations are required, call 210.357.1910.



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