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Ford estate makes $15 million art donation

Josephine Clay Ford left Picasso, Matisse pieces to Detroit museum in will
/ Source: The Associated Press

The estate of Henry Ford's only granddaughter has given $15 million worth of art — including works by Picasso, Matisse and Renoir — to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

After the works are examined at the museum's conservation laboratory, many will be incorporated into the DIA's reinstallation plans for 2007, officials said.

Josephine Clay Ford, who died last June 1 at age 81, had a long history of DIA patronage and service. Besides making art donations and offering major support for fund-raising campaigns, she served on the city's Arts Commission and the museum's board of directors.

"Mrs. Ford's legacy will always live on at the DIA and we applaud her decision to share these works of art with the public," Graham W.J. Beal, the museum's director, said Wednesday in a statement.

Among the paintings and drawings donated by Ford's estate:

  • Pablo Picasso's "Girl Reading," 1938
  • Edgar Degas' "Seated Nude Woman Brushing Her Hair," c. 1890-1900
  • Henri Matisse's "Anemones and Peach Blossoms," 1944
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Coco," c. 1905
  • Marc Chagall's "The Green Circus Rider," 1961
  • Amedeo Modigliani's "Girl in a White Blouse," c. 1915

A major renovation and expansion of the DIA that started in 1999 is to be completed in 2007. It will add 77,000 square feet to the museum's current size of 600,000 square feet.