PALO ALTO, Calif. -- A family has donated 121 pieces from its collection of prominent 20th century American art to Stanford University, including the 1947 painting, "Lucifer," by Jackson Pollock, university officials announced on Tuesday.
The pieces – primarily paintings from the post-World War II period – comprise the core of Harry and Mary Margaret Anderson's collection. The works will be housed in a new museum on campus that is expected to open to the public in 2014, said Lisa Lapin, a university spokeswoman.
"Each piece that the Andersons have selected is one of the best representations, highest quality examples of that artist's repertoire," Lapin said. "It's really an unparalleled collection in both the breadth and scope of post-war American art."
The university signed an agreement for the works with the San Francisco Bay area couple last week, she said.
In addition to Pollock's "Lucifer," paintings in the collection include Richard Diebenkorn's 1973 "Ocean Park (hash)60," Sam Francis's 1955 "Red in Red," and Philip Guston's 1961 "The Tale" and 1977 "The Coat II."
Lapin said she did not have an appraised value for any of the pieces. But another Pollock painting alone reportedly sold for $140 million in 2006.
Harry Anderson co-founded Saga Corp. after World War II. The company was headquartered close to Stanford in Menlo Park and supplied food to hundreds of college campuses, among other places. It was later taken over Marriot Corp.
The couple, who are in their 80s, began collecting Impressionists in the mid-1960s before switching to Abstract Expressionists such as Pollock in 1969, Harry Anderson said.
"We don't just collect artists, we collect artists' great things," he said during a telephone interview Tuesday.
The 121 pieces going to Stanford were culled from about 800 works in the family's collection that include sculpture and works on paper, he said. The family has previously gifted works to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Harry Anderson said he and his wife have had a close connection to the Stanford campus. They live close by and have allowed more than 30 doctoral candidates from the school to work with their collection.
"This will make a great university greater," he said.