For Edward T. Pollack ’55, a colleague’s dinner party in New York City during the 1960s was the budding moment for a lifelong passion of collecting fine art. Intrigued by the works that decorated the home, Pollack found himself immersed in a subject he knew little of at the time. By the end of the evening, Pollack owned his very first piece.
Because of his enduring affinity for fine art and longtime support of the Colleges, Pollack recently made the generous donation of five sketches as an emblematic gesture toward a legacy gift to HWS, in which he intends to donate other pieces from his collection.
“As a supporter of the Colleges, I’d ideally like to make this contribution in the long term,” Pollack says. “With that, I’ve made a small symbolic donation of five prints, three which are from very different artists; four are American artists and one is French.”
The donated pieces include: “Young People Outdoors,” 1972, an etching with aquatint by Isabel Bishop (1902-1988); “La Folle de L’Armistice,” 1918-’19, an etching by Henri Farge (1884-1970); “Man and Beast,” 1946, a lithograph by Joseph Hirsch (1920-1997); “The Little Family,” 1920-’29, an etching by Jerome Myers (1867-1940); and “Young Girl,” 1961, a lithograph by Raphael Soyer (1899-1987). These pieces and other works by internationally-known artists in the Colleges’ Collections also are viewable in a recently launched online gallery.
Pollack attributes his gift to the fact that the Colleges have been a special place for him over the years and his liberal arts education made a great impact on his life. “I was opened up to many things in life as a result of what I was exposed to here at the Colleges,” says Pollack, who majored in philosophy and was a Beta Sigma Tau brother while attending Hobart.
Owner of A Fine Thing: Edward T. Pollack Fine Arts in Portland, Maine, Pollack has an extensive collection that includes etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, drawings, and photographs and other print media. He also has a collection of rare books and antiques, and is a member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association of America (IFPDA), the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).
Pollack says although he has a passion for collecting, he also likes seeing pieces move on to new places for the enjoyment of others. At the Colleges, Pollack’s donation will serve several purposes, according to HWS Visual Arts Curator Kathryn Vaughn.
“All of these prints fit delightfully into our collection which specializes in modern art, especially works on paper and with an emphasis on American artists,” Vaughn says. “Each will be used by both studio and art history classes for study by students and faculty, as well as be featured in upcoming exhibitions at the Davis Gallery at Houghton House.”
She adds the Soyer and Bishop prints given by Pollack are fine examples of the work of each of these exquisite artists.
“The Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges are heavily dependent upon gifts from alums for their growth and support,” Vaughn says. “We are always more than grateful to receive such generous gifts to share with the community.”