Roy Neuberger  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Roy Rothschild Neuberger (July 21, 1903 – December 24, 2010) was an American financier who has contributed money to the cause of public awareness and publicity of modern art through acquisition of deserving pieces. He was the founder of the investment firm Neuberger Berman.

Art Patron

By 1939, Neuberger had made enough money to buy the first painting that he would lend to rocket the artist to fame: Peter Hurd's Boy from the Plains. He allowed Nelson Rockefeller, another avid art collector, to use Boy from the Plains in a travelling American art exhibition. Rockefeller's exhibition travelled to South America, and many people in both South and North America were thus exposed to the art of Hurd.

Among the other artists whose works Neuberger has collected are Jackson Pollock, Ben Shahn, William Baziotes, Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Louis Eilshemius, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Jack Levine, David Smith and especially Milton Avery, of whose works Neuberger purchased dozens. The first Avery he ever purchased was Gaspé Landscape, which he bought while it was snowing and wrapped neatly specially before going out during the snowstorm, determined to keep the painting intact to make the man famous. Neuberger still has Gaspé Landscape on the wall of his apartment. Neuberger also began donating works to institutions, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum as well as many college and university museums.

Rockefeller later became governor of New York and created the State University of New York system. For his friend Neuberger, Rockefeller established a museum at Purchase College as part of the new university where Neuberger could display a substantial amount of the art he had acquired. With the help of architect Philip Johnson, the Neuberger Museum of Art was built on the SUNY Purchase College campus and opened in 1974. Neuberger contributed more than 500 of his paintings toward the collection.

On November 15, 2007 President George W. Bush awarded the then-104 year old Neuberger the 2007 National Medal of Arts.

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