Linda and J. Randolph Lewis wing created at Figge Art Museum 

Couple donates its $14M art collection  

Dr. Randy and Linda Lewis

A Davenport couple have donated their art collection to the Figge Art Museum, establishing The Linda and J. Randolph Lewis Wing – a collection of 44 works of modern and contemporary American art. 

The art was valued at $14 million by Christie’s, New York, and marks a momentous addition to the Figge’s collection, according to a news release from the Davenport museum. For 50 years, the couple have collected works by influential artists such as Romare Bearden, Milton Avery, Marsden Hartley, Helen Frankenthaler and Alice Neel. 

The Figge said the artwork “embodies the innovative spirit and diverse perspectives of American art over the last century. This gift will significantly enhance the Figge’s collection and fill crucial gaps in the museum’s galleries.”

“We are deeply grateful to Dr. Randy and Linda Lewis for their visionary contribution,” Melissa Mohr, the Figge’s interim executive director, said in the release. “The impact of this gift on our museum and community cannot be overstated. The Linda and J. Randolph Lewis Wing will stand as a cornerstone of the Figge’s mission to bring art and people together, fostering creativity and cultural understanding, and inspiring dialogue.”

She added: “This is indeed a transformative moment for the Figge Art Museum and for the broader cultural landscape of the Quad Cities.”

In the release, Dr. Randy and Linda Lewis shared “We’ve lived in Davenport for 36 years, and this community has been very good to us. It just seems easy to do this, and to know that people will enjoy it, and that it will be here for a long time. When you are nearing the end of your life – and we are – you start to think about what you’re leaving behind, what of value you have to leave future generations. It makes us feel good to give back to the community.” 

Their gift will help the museum attract more visitors locally, nationally and internationally contributing to the museum’s ongoing success and vitality, the release said.

“The Lewis Collection features exemplary works by influential American artists,” said Joshua Johnson and Vanessa Sage, co-senior curators. “While the Figge’s collection is strong in areas like Regionalism, Spanish Colonial art and Haitian art, we have relatively few examples of artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries by artists that feature prominently in the art historical canon.”

“Linda and Randy’s gift transforms the Figge’s collection in a way that would have otherwise been unimaginable,” the Figge curators added. “Due to their generosity, the museum will be able to share the more complete story of art.” 

Inspired by the philanthropic legacies of Dr. Walter Neiswanger and Charles A. Ficke, the Lewises hope to encourage other collectors to consider how their collections might benefit their communities and future generations.

Beginning this summer, visitors will have the opportunity to view pieces from the Lewis Collection in the newly dedicated Linda and J. Randolph Lewis Wing on the second floor of the Figge Art Museum (formerly the permanent collection galleries).

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