The Trustees and Staff of the Whitney Museum of American Art grieve the passing of one of the institution’s longest-serving and most treasured Board members.
More from Legacy.com and the New York Times:
Emily Fisher Landau‘s long association with the Whitney began in the late 1960s and was strengthened in 1985 when she joined the Painting and Sculpture Committee – a group that she would later Co-Chair.
Two years later, she was elected to the Whitney’s Board of Trustees, and upon her retirement from the Board, was recognized for her tremendous contributions through the designation of Honorary Trusteeship in 2016. During her 36 years of service, she had a transformational impact on the institution, supporting numerous exhibitions, establishing a Biennial endowment, naming the fourth-floor galleries in the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer building, and serving for a decade as the Vice President and then as Vice Chairman of the Board.
In 2010, Emily made a historic pledge of nearly 400 works by almost 100 artists to the museum, one of the largest donations in the institution’s history, which transformed the collection with seminal works by artists like Carl Andre, Willem de Kooning, William Eggleston, Peter Hujar, Jasper Johns, Glenn Ligon, Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Susan Rothenberg, Ed Ruscha, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol.
In 2011, a selection of these works went on view at the Whitney in the exhibition, “Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection,” which toured across the United States through 2015, dramatically expanding the scope of this gift’s impact and audience.
When asked why she was so passionate about the Whitney, she said it “wasn’t afraid to show the work of young artists before they were accepted” – words that echoed the ideas of founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.
Emily’s devotion to emerging artists was further evidenced through her particular and profound support of the Whitney Biennial, our signature exhibition that focuses primarily on new and undiscovered talents.
As one of the preeminent collectors of postwar art in the United States, Emily will be remembered as a champion of contemporary art, with her support extending well beyond the Whitney through her founding of the Fisher Landau Center for Art, which welcomed visitors from 1991 to 2017, and through her service on the Board of Directors for SITE Santa Fe and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, as well as the Museum of Modern Art’s Committees on Painting & Sculpture Committee and Prints & Illustrated Books.