Dr. George Abraham ’59 will again display his generosity to the HWS community by sharing part of his personal art collection with The Davis Gallery at Houghton House March 28 – April 18. “Continuum: Selections from the Collection of Dr. George N. Abraham ’59” opens with a reception on Friday, March 28 at 6 p.m., followed by a Gallery Talk at 6:30 p.m.
“My collection started accidentally in 1965, with an introduction to Franz Bader who owned a marvelous art gallery in Washington, D.C.,” says Abraham. “Franz convinced me that I should collect art and suggested I think about collecting works on paper. The reason, he said, is that they were cheap and underappreciated, and would become very sought after in the future. He was right.”
“The diversity and impressiveness of Dr. Abraham’s print collection is an unequivocal reflection of the collector and his many accomplishments,” says Kathryn Vaughn, visual arts curator. “Although a pioneer of the sciences, Dr. Abraham does not regard his deep appreciation for art and collection as an unrelated avocation.”
Abraham’s journey as an art collector speaks to the uniqueness of the viewing experience, he explains, as an entirely personal experience between the work and the individual viewer. “I collect in an unfocused manner governed by what I inwardly feel when I see a piece of art, and most times it takes a while for me to understand what guided those feelings.”
From prints by Rembrandt, Degas and Goya to modern prints by less familiar artists, Abraham has compiled a collection of treasures that is “so unfocused, so electric, so mixed up and so ageless yet so full of visual treasure.”
There will also be a private viewing of Abraham’s collection on Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m. Guests will be treated to a recital with Abraham and Argentine-American pianist Mirian Conti, featuring the chamber music of Haydn and Mozart, as well as Argentine Tangos and Mazurkas by Chopin from her recent CD recordings. The concert and private viewing will benefit the conservation and restoration of pieces in The Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A donation of $25 per person is suggested.
After graduating from Hobart with a B.S. in math and chemistry, Abraham went on to earn both his M.S. and medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Abraham’s medical career took him to California, New York and Washington, D.C. where he worked on a variety of national initiatives surrounding cancer research and treatment. The author of more than 100 scientific articles, three books and three patents, he is currently a medical center professor emeritus of medicine, microbiology, immunology and pediatrics, and oncology.
Abraham is a member of the board of directors of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. A dedicated philanthropist, he also serves the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, the Eastman School of Music as well as Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
In 2005, President Mark D. Gearan awarded Abraham with the President’s Medal in recognition of his commitment to Hobart and William Smith Colleges and his service to his community, country and profession.
During the opening reception, Gearan will dedicate The George D. and Freida B. Abraham Reception Room, named in grateful recognition of the dedication and commitment of Abraham to the arts at the Colleges.