The in Providence has announced a $2.5 million gift from David Rockefeller to support and expand the 's collection of decorative arts and design.
The gift will endow a curatorial position to lead the department and funds to underwrite a named gallery within the museum's suite of European art galleries. Elizabeth A. Williams, who joined the museum in January 2013 as curator of decorative arts and design, will be the first to hold the David and Peggy Rockefeller Curator of Decorative Art and Design position.
In addition, Rockefeller pledged forty-three pieces of decorative artwork from his estate, including porcelain, silver, a rare pair of five-legged George I burr walnut armchairs with tapestry seats, and a pair of Korean wedding chests. The gift includes $500,000 to renovate an existing four-hundred-square-foot corner gallery in the museum's Radeke building to house the artwork; the gallery will be renamed the David and Peggy Rockefeller Gallery.
David Rockefeller, the youngest child of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, joined Chase National Bank in 1946 and rose through the ranks to become chairman and CEO of in 1969. He retired in 1981 and was among the first signatories of the in 2010.
"Both sides of my family — Aldriches as well as Rockefellers — have had a long and happy relationship with the RISD Museum. My mother even took a few courses there in the late nineteenth century, before she married my father," said Rockefeller. "When my late wife, Peggy, and I discussed the idea of creating a room to reflect our collecting interests, we thought immediately of RISD. I am very pleased this gift will provide the museum with a new gallery, but, more importantly, it will complement the innovative educational program the museum has recently established."