Durham natives donate contemporary works to NC art museum
Posted January 7, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — The founder of a powerful Washington, D.C., law and lobbying firm and his wife have donated part of their collection of modern and contemporary art to the North Carolina Museum of Art, museum officials said Wednesday.
The 100 works in the gift by Jim and Mary Patton include paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs by artists such as Milton Avery, Richard Diebenkorn, Jackie Ferrara, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Motherwell, David Park, George Rickey, Sean Scully and Frank Stella.
“We are immensely grateful for this exceptional gift from Jim and Mary Patton – two of the most generous and passionate art collectors from our state,” museum director Larry Wheeler said in a statement. “This transformative gift significantly expands the breadth and scope of the museum’s permanent collection and will allow our visitors to have an even more engaging and exciting experience in our modern and contemporary galleries.”
The Pattons have had long-standing ties to North Carolina. Jim Patton was born and raised in Durham and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He went on to found the Patton Boggs law firm in Washington, where he was a power broker for many years. Mary Patton, who died last year, was an accomplished painter who grew up in Durham and attended what later became the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“I am thankful we were able to collect this art and give it back to the world," Jim Patton said in a statement. "I like the idea that these works that Mary and I enjoyed over the years will give pleasure to other people."
Some of the works from the gift will be featured in a special exhibition, titled "The Patton Collection: A Gift to North Carolina," which opens March 28.