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Haub Family Collection of Western American Art at Tacoma Art Museum

Celebrating the biggest gift in Tacoma Art Museum's history

Albert Bierstadt (German-American 1830-1902) "Departure of an Indian War Party," 1865. Oil on board. 17 1/4 x 24 1/4 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.8

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It's here at last - the brand new Haub Family Collection of Western American Art in the new galleries designed by Olson Kundig Architects - open to the public at the grand opening celebration Saturday, Nov. 15. The new wing doubles the museum's gallery space and places the Tacoma Art Museum as the only museum in the Pacific Northwestern region with a Western American art collection of this caliber.

"We are immensely grateful to Erivan and Helga Haub and family for their remarkable vision and amazing generosity to Tacoma. They built their collection with such care, joy and purpose - even making additional purchases of art to strengthen the collection's public appeal and scholarly scope during discussions with the museum about their gift," said museum director Stephanie A. Stebich.  "With great foresight, they took care to provide for the collection by donating substantial endowment funds and providing support for glorious new gallery spaces. These are extraordinary donors and absolutely delightful people who have made the single largest gift in the history of Tacoma Art Museum."

>>> The new Haub Family Galleries wing, designed by Olson Kundig Architects and built by Sellen Construction. Photo courtesy of Tacoma Art Museum

After a year of construction at a cost of $15.5 million, the 16,000-square-foot expansion adds 32 percent new space to the museum's 50,000-square-foot facility. This state-of-the-art project includes four gracious new galleries, a sculpture hallway and an enlarged light-filled lobby. A hands-on art-making area for all ages is available off the lobby free of charge. New visitor amenities include an orientation space, redesigned entrances on Pacific Avenue and on the parking level with a new glass enclosed vestibule, beautiful new landscaping and major outdoor sculptural works, plus improvements to the museum's store and café.

>>> John Nieto (American, born 1936) "Buffalo at Sunset", 1996. Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 60 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.89

>>> Alexander Phimister Proctor (1860 - 1950) "Buckaroo", 1915. Bronze, 28 3/8 × 20 1/2 × 8 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.96

New outdoor art installations include three newly commissioned sculptures by Northwest artists Scott Fife, Julie Speidel and Marie Watt. Fife's sculpture will delight visitors with playful portrayals of a bear cub and an eaglet exploring the urban environment, scheduled for unveiling in the spring of 2015. Speidel's installation evokes the region's ancient geological history, elegantly recreating glacial erratics (large boulders) left behind by receding glaciers with integrated seating for the outdoor waiting area. Watt, a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, is creating a large scale bronze sculpture based on the humble yet significant role blankets play in people's lives, in the settling of the West, and in Native American communities.

>>> E. Martin Hennings (American, 1886 - 1956) "Towering Aspens", circa 1940. Oil on canvas, 20 × 20 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.61

Erivan and Helga Haub donated 295 Western American works of art from their private collection to the Tacoma Art Museum, along with endowment funds for the future care and educational opportunities related to the collection. The Haubs, inspired by their love of art and nature, began collecting Western American art in the early 1980s and developed one of the most important collections in private hands. Their passion for the West helped shape their artistic choices, which chronicle the land, people, wildlife, and history of the great American West. The collection spans 200 years, from famed early artists/explorers to notable present day masters. November's opening celebrations mark the first nearly comprehensive public exhibition of this collection.

Much of what we now know about Native Americans, mountain men and cowboys can be attributed to 19th century artists represented in this collection, including George Catlin, John Mix Stanley, Thomas Moran and Frederic Remington. Moving into the 20th century, the collection includes artists who brought modern art movements west and who explored Western history and American identity, such as E. Martin Hennings, Georgia O'Keeffe, Tom Lovell, and John Clymer. The collection also includes many artists who are active and working today such as Native American artists John Nieto and Kevin Red Star, and pop artist Bill Schenck, who uses humor and satire to challenge long-held assumptions about the American West.

>>> The Oly Mountain Boys perform at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 during the Go West Opening Party at the Tacoma Art Museum's new wing.

Go West Opening Party

The Go West Grand Opening Saturday, Nov. 15 begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. and will feature music by Foss High School Orchestral Band. The new galleries open at 11 a.m. From 1-2 p.m. there will be a living history presentation and storytelling by Karen Haas. At 2:30 p.m. there will be curator and author talks followed by book-signing of the new Art of the American West: Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum, followed by Native American storytelling by Roger Fernandez from 3-5 p.m. The Oly Mountain Boys will perform at 3 p.m., followed by banjo musician Forest Beutel at 4 p.m. The two bluegrass performances are a taste of what is scheduled every Saturday night at the Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink when the Weekly Volcano present seven Saturday nights of bluegrass in celebration of the Western American art collection at TAM.

The evening social and members' party will be from 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $15 per member, $50 not-yet member and include parking, food, TAM's new signature Tacoma New West CDA from Harmon Brewing Co. and Tacoma New West Bourbon Whiskey from Heritage Distilling Co, and live music.

For the full schedule of Go West Grand Opening day and night events, click here. A complete schedule of opening events and other information is also available on the museum website at


Words and photos from the Tacoma Art Museum new wing's groundbreaking

Recap of the six weeks leading up to the Tacoma Art Museum's Haub Family Collection wing opening

Rhythm and Ice: Down Home Holiday Hoedown at Franciscan Polar Plaza ice rink

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