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Manhattanville College Acquires Major Collection of Modernist Artist

One of Manfred Schwartz's paintings that's among the donated artwork to Manhattanville College.
One of Manfred Schwartz's paintings that's among the donated artwork to Manhattanville College. Photo Credit: Contributed

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Manhattanville College in Purchase recently became the owner of the largest collection of artwork and biographical material of the acclaimed modern Polish-American artist Manfred Schwartz.

The more than 200 paintings lithographs, drawings and sketches are valued at over $140,000 and were donated by alumnus Andrew Dellava (class of 1973).

Schwartz, who studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, counted Braque, Duchamp, Rouault, Picasso and Matisse among his circle of friends, mentors and influences.

His work is part of the permanent collections of the Met, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and other internationally renowned art museums.

The donated collection represents all phases of the artist’s productive career “from his early figurative work to his highly sought-after late abstract paintings known as the Celestials,” according to assistant professor Deborah Saleeby-Mulligan in the department of art history. “It is an honor to have the collection,” she said.

In addition to Dellava’s artworks, Manhattanville was given Schwartz’s personal family memorabilia (photos, letters, etc.) by Felice Berenson, the artist's cousin and custodian of his estate.

Dellava, who has been collecting Schwartz’s work for decades, said he believes that a vibrant educational community, such as Manhattanville, is the perfect place for the collection.

“I wanted his work to live and breathe,” he said. And breathe it does.

Students in Manhattanville’s museum studies seminar earlier this year cataloged and archived the collection, working cooperatively to plan, design and install the Schwartz exhibition in the Berger gallery this spring.

“Through the course, having access to a primary source of such high quality, students gained invaluable knowledge, experience, and skills necessary for pursuing a career in museums,” said Saleeby-Mulligan.

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