Hyde Collection Opens New Gallery To Display Gift Of Modern Art

Jun 9, 2017

The Hyde Collection, an art museum in Glens Falls, New York, has expanded to accommodate the collection of a Schenectady architect. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports the new gallery is dedicated to modern art.

Before the velvet rope across the doorway to the new gallery was removed Friday, Hyde Collection board chair Karl Seitz welcomed guests to the museum.

Standing in a gallery named for local philanthropist Charles Wood in an institution named after founder Charlotte Hyde, Seitz added a new name to list of people who have transformed the historic home and museum.

“Following the benevolent leadership of community icons such as Charlotte Hyde, Charles Wood, and now, Werner Feibes, the Hyde moves into its next chapter to continue to enrich the lives of those living in the region through the enjoyment of art,” said Seitz.

Schenectady architects Werner Feibes and the late James Schmitt, partners in life and work, left the Hyde their entire collection of modern art.

Names such as Man Ray, Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring and many others are represented in the Feibes-Schmitt collection, to be displayed in the gallery bearing their names, according to museum director Erin Coe.

“So the collection is 160 works total; you see 40 here in the galley, but there’s many more works that we’ll be exhibiting in the future,” said Coe.

The collection is valued at $11 million. The pieces are located in the same museum known for its works by American and European masters. 

The 1,500-square foot gallery space and a storage unit were built with the support of $1 million cash gift from Werner Feibes. The pieces on display today once lined the walls of Feibes’ home in Schenectady's Stockade neighborhood.

“And you have a little house…the place was just packed,” said Feibes.

Walking into the new gallery, Feibes remarked that the works on display were his family. At age 87, Feibes said he doesn’t really have family he could give the art to.

He and his late husband first exhibited pieces in their collection at the Hyde 14 years ago. Feibes said if he had donated the collection to a larger museum in New York City, it likely would have been placed in storage. The pieces are a boon to the Glens Falls museum, but there are some terms to the agreement.

“I put some strings on this gift. Number one, I’ll give you a $11 million worth of art and a million dollars in cash and you will have to have a galley be dedicated to art of our time. And there will always be some of our collection in that gallery,” said Feibes.

The inaugural exhibition called To Distribute and Multiply: The Feibes & Schmitt Gift will be on display through the end of the year.

The Hyde is planning a community day on Saturday to celebrate the new collection that places the small city of Glens Falls, between Montreal, New York City and Boston, on the map of the art world.