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A Collector’s Passion: 100 Years of Paintings Inspired by the McKay Collection
March 1 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 12:00 pm on Sunday and Saturday, repeating until June 30, 2020
March 16 – December 15, 2019
Gallery Hours: 12-4pm Saturday & Sunday
Free to the public.
For more than 55 years, local historian Leonard McKay assembled a distinctive body of work comprised solely of historic paintings by Santa Clara Valley artists. McKay began collecting as early as World War II when he served with the U.S. Army First Infantry Division in Germany after the Battle of the Bulge. While overseas he collected several European art works; by 1960 he began focusing exclusively on work created by Santa Clara Valley artists.
In 1956, McKay purchased the Smith-McKay Printing Company from his grandmother Bessie Smith, who founded the company in 1919 with her husband Clifford, and her son Leonard Sr. One of McKay’s clients was the de Saisset Museum. While working with the museum’s director, Father Joséph Pociask, he met numerous local artists and began collecting their work. Sometimes he purchased works, and other times he traded printing jobs. McKay began attending art exhibitions and auctions to build the collection: “One of the things I like so much about these paintings is that they are a record for San José.” The resulting collection is wonderfully rich, diverse in styles and media, and a record of San José the Museum is proud to share with the public.
This collection has not been exhibited in its entirety since the Leonard and David McKay Gallery opened in 2005. While the McKay Collection is the basis and inspiration for this exhibition, additional works from the permanent collection have been added by the same local artists to enhance and expand appreciation of their artistic legacy.