The Tacoma Art Museum celebrated a groundbreaking Western style on Sept. 5. Anyone driving or walking by couldn’t help notice the hay bales, cowgirl music and the cowboy teaching people how to lasso a steer outside.
Gov. Jay Inslee, Congressman Derek Kilmer, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, members of the Puyallup Tribe, the Haub family and many community members were at the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Plaza outside of the museum to learn about the significance of the $17 million expansion that is about to break ground.
The Haub family donated about 300 American Western Art pieces to the museum along with donations to expand the museum to house the collection and an endowment to make sure it is financially supported for years to come. It’s the largest gift in the museum’s 75-year history.
Tacoma Art Museum Director Stephanie Stebich told the crowd that TAM will rank 10th in the nation and first in the Northwest for having the most comprehensive American Western Art collection. The new wing will be constructed by Olson Kundig Architects and it will be located along Pacific Avenue toward Union Station. It will nearly double the gallery space and will be open, inviting and full of natural light.
The collection will feature well-known artists such as Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Frederic Remington. The works range is date from the 1820s to the present.
“This collection ranks among those of the highest breadth and caliber in American museums today,” said Peter H. Hassrick, retired museum director, curator, and American and Western art scholar in a press release. “Western art as a genre has added much to the overall development of American art over the past 150 years. The Haub collection represents a remarkable esthetic contribution as well as a fascinating historical narrative.”
Erivan and Helga Haub is from Germany. They had personal and business ties with the Puget Sound area and when they first came, they fell in love with it. They visited every summer and their three children were born at Tacoma General Hospital. The beauty of the west inspired them to begin collecting works of American Western Art since the 1980s. Their son Christian Haub was present and spoke.
The new wing will be open next fall.