The Daled Collection at The MoMA

by Daniel Haim

The Museum of Modern Art announces the acquisition of the Daled Collection, one of the key collections of American and European Conceptual art from the 1960s and 1970s. The collection includes 223 works across all mediums, assembled between 1966 and 1978 by the Brussels-based collectors Herman J. Daled and Nicole Daled-Verstraeten. The collection is particularly distinguished by unparalleled groupings of works by Marcel Broodthaers— a unique ensemble of some 60 works—as well as by Vito Acconci, Daniel Buren, James Lee Byars, Dan Graham, and Niele Toroni, among many others. As a counterpart to this tremendous collection, the Museum will also acquire the collectors’ archives, containing photographs, letters, notes, and additional materials relating to the works and also documenting the historical context in which the collection was formed.

The acquisition comprises a combination of Museum purchase and gifts from the collectors. The purchase was made possible by six of the Museum’s trustees.

A selection of more than 40 works from the Daled collection, including rooms devoted to Broodthaers and Buren and major works by Acconci, Byars, Graham, On Kawara, and Toroni, will be on view in the newly reinstalled Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Painting and Sculpture Galleries, which open on June 22.

“The Daled collection is among the most significant acquisitions in the Museum’s history and substantially enhances and transforms our holdings of art from the 1960s and 1970s, filling major gaps and also adding considerable depth in other areas of our collection,” said Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art. “We are deeply grateful to the generosity and commitment of Herman J. Daled and Nicole Daled-Verstraeten, the incredible support of the trustees who made this acquisition possible, and many of the Museum’s chief curators who worked together on this effort.”

”This acquisition will allow the Museum to represent the extraordinary achievements of some of the key figures of the late 1960s and 1970s, such as Marcel Broodthaers and Dan Graham,” added Christophe Cherix, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books. “We are thrilled to have found a way to keep this unique collection together as it will open up rich fields of study for future generations. It is by all accounts a critical addition to the Museum’s holdings.”

The collection began with the Daleds’ purchase of Broodthaers’s Maria or Robe de Maria (Maria’s Dress) from 1966, a pivotal work, acquired the very day of its making, that consists of a stretched canvas on which the artist hung a ready-made dress holding a shopping bag covered with eggshells. The Daleds were later introduced to an extensive network of artists through their friendship with the Belgian artist, who played a key role in their collecting and their lives.

Maria is one of the five works that Herman J. Daled has given to the Museum as part of the acquisition; the other four gifts are: Daniel Buren’s 12-painting installation—one for each month of the year—made especially for the Daleds, Cotton striped cloth with vertical white and colored bands of 8.7 cm (+/- 0.3 cm) each. The two external white bands covered over with white acrylic paint recto-verso (1970); Dan Graham’s canonical Homes for America (1966-67); Sol LeWitt’s manuscript for his groundbreaking Sentences on Conceptual Art (1968); and Niele Toroni’s 70-sheet installation based on the imprints of his paintbrush, Imprints of a No. 50 Brush Repeated at Regular Intervals of 30 cm (1978).

The collection was shown together for the first time in the summer of 2010 at Haus der Kunst, Munich, in an exhibition curated by Patrizia Dander and Ulrich Wilmes, under the direction of Chris Dercon, former Director of Haus der Kunst, now Director of Tate Modern. Through the exhibition, the collection revealed enormous strength in the comprehensiveness of its groupings and the sharp and prescient vision of the collectors, who focused from the start on new strategies being developed by artists of their time.

Together with the recently acquired Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift (2007), the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift (2009), and the collection of Seth Siegelaub and the Stichting Egress Foundation (2011), the Museum establishes itself as one of the preeminent centers of Conceptual art, a decisive movement of the 20th century.