The Smithsonian's has announced a $1 million gift from British artist and philanthropist Basil Alkazzi.
The gift will be used to support the acquisition of paintings and drawings by contemporary American and British artists. Alkazzi, whose work Ezra – With Love II (1991) is in the Hirshhorn's collection, said his gift was inspired by the commitment shown by the museum to emerging artists. "Works of art are in fact the tangible manifestations of man’s highest aspirations — to create a sort of ultimate beauty and to visually express all intangible and elusive moments," said Alkazzi. "The Hirshhorn, a small big museum in the heart of America, is the ideal home for my gift."
"We are grateful for Mr. Alkazzi's incredible generosity," said Kerry Brougher, interim director and chief curator at the Hirshhorn. "His gift will allow the Hirshhorn to significantly enhance its holdings of hand-painted paintings and drawings by key figures in the U.S. and UK. As we celebrate and highlight our collection this year during our fortieth anniversary, we are thrilled that, thanks to the public-spiritedness of donors like Basil Alkazzi, this collection will continue to grow and be a lasting legacy to the nation."