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A Gift to Glasgow from New York: The Phillip A. Bruno Collection

By Neil Cooper, 08.10.2019
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Photo of Phillip A. Bruno outside Galerie Edouard Loeb, Paris, 1955 © Joan Brown.

A major private collection of more than 70 works of American contemporary art as well as works from Mexico and Japan is set to open in Glasgow this month. A Gift to Glasgow from New York: The Phillip A. Bruno Collection is the first of two exhibitions set to take place at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian gallery to coincide with New York-based curator and collector Phillip A. Bruno’s 90th birthday.

A series of paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints drawn from a collection built up over 70 years by the former co-director of the New York-based Staempfli Gallery and Marlborough Gallery will include work by American artists such as William Dole, Lee Gatch and Red Grooms, as well as key works by Mexican painter Jose Luis Cuevas and Japanese Sculptor Masayuki Nagare.

“I’ve been very interested in the art world in Glasgow,” says Bruno, “and through a series of connections, one thing led to another, and now we’re bringing the work to Scotland.”

Over his sixty-year career, Paris-born Bruno has had many encounters with major artists, including Matisse and Giacometti, while he also stayed with the Van Gogh family in Holland. Bruno’s connection with Scotland goes back twenty-five years, when he visited Glasgow to look at the architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and first saw Glasgow School of Art. He later exhibited a collection of hand-written postcards sent to him by various artists at the Hunterian. This new exhibition, overseen by Hunterian curator Peter Black, is a rare opportunity to see Bruno’s private collection in the public domain.

“I couldn’t paint, I couldn’t draw, my writing was never published, but I had the sensitivity to be able to recognise the creativity of others,” he says. “I’ve led a wonderful life, travelling the world and working with artists, and I’m looking forward to seeing the selection of work on a Scottish wall.”

A Gift to Glasgow from New York: The Phillip A. Bruno Collection runs at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow from October 18th to January 12th, 2020.