At Last, a Home for Works on Paper
In 1956, German émigré Fred Grunwald, a clothing manufacturer, gave UCLA the world-class print collection he had assembled in Los Angeles. Grunwald’s original collection was presumably seized by the Nazis in the 1930s. The singular works contained in the L.A. gift formed the start of the Hammer Museum at UCLA’s Grunwald Center collection, which now includes 45,000 prints, drawings and photographs dating from the Renaissance to the present — one of the nation’s most significant collections of works on paper. The gift also helped lay the foundation for the Hammer’s extensive works in this medium.
Now, for the first time, those works have their own dedicated gallery space. The 3,100-square-foot room, designed by Michael Maltzan and located on the museum’s third level, is adjacent to a more dramatic space that will become the new home of the UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts. The new spaces are part of the Hammer’s ongoing $100 million renovation and expansion project.
The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “A Decade of Acquisitions of Works on Paper,” is being presented in two parts. The first, which closed on May 1, featured works from UCLA’s two print and drawing collections — the Grunwald Center and the Hammer Contemporary Collection — spanning the early 1960s to the pandemic years. The Grunwald Center is dedicated to a historical collection of European, American and Asian works on paper from the past 500 years, while the Hammer Contemporary Collection, established in 2005, focuses on contemporary art in all media.
The second installment, which will be on view through Aug. 28, highlights acquisitions of the last decade, along with important promised gifts. The exhibition includes numerous prints and drawings, as well as photography-based works. Also featured are significant gifts from the estate of iconic Los Angeles art dealer and philanthropist Margo Leavin.
“The new gallery and adjacent study room together will allow us to show students, faculty, and all our visitors the breadth and depth of the Hammer’s collections of works on paper,” says Cynthia Burlingham, deputy director of curatorial affairs and director of the Grunwald Center for Graphic Arts.