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2016 Media Releases

University of Denver Receives Madden Art Collection Valued at $10M

March 10, 2016 – In January 2016, Mr. John Madden, developer of the Fiddler's Green campus in Greenwood Village, CO., donated a collection of 120 artworks valued at $10 million to the University of Denver.

The new "Madden Collection at the University of Denver" includes artworks by artists ranging from pioneering Western painters Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran to American masters Thomas Hart Benton and Robert Rauschenberg to contemporary Chinese-born American painter Hung Liu.

Reflecting the personal collecting interests of Mr. Madden and his late wife Marjorie, the collection is also rich in outstanding works by Italian painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. European works include Italian Impressionists, such as Francesco Gioli and Federico Zandomeneghi, and British master J.M.W. Turner.

The collection doubles the monetary value of the University Art Collection's existing art assets, which now number more than 3,400 artworks. Through this transformational gift, the University expands its role as a regional leader in a new model for the museum profession—accessible collections.

The University is committed to increasing the display of its collections while using them as an active educational resource for all DU students. Many of the newly donated works are currently on view at the MADDEN Museum of Art in Greenwood Village, CO., a free, public museum Mr. Madden established in 2008. Exhibiting DU-owned works in Greenwood Village plays a role in expanding the University's community presence as expressed in DU's recently published strategic plan, DU Impact 2025.

"The impact of this gift and our relationship with Mr. Madden is enormous," said University Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. "He has assembled an important and broad-ranging collection, and we're particularly honored that he has entrusted us with the care of a legacy that benefits our students and the wider community."

The Madden Collection at the University of Denver creates new opportunities for students studying in art history, museum studies, studio art and many other fields. Using the full University Art Collections, which have been transformed into a hands-on teaching laboratory for research and study of visual art objects, DU students have behind-the-scenes access to original artworks for research, curatorial projects and professional training opportunities in museum studies.

A notable work from the Madden Collection that students will handle is an Alpine landscape of 1870 by Albert Bierstadt. It is a counterpart to his "Weeping Oaks, Clear Creek, California," painted in 1880 and donated to the University by the artist himself in 1890.

"For a decade, we've worked hard to organize our collections. Mr. Madden's gift perfectly complements some of our existing holdings, particularly in European and American landscape painting," said Dan Jacobs, University Art Collections curator. "Gifts of pieces by Grandma Moses, Robert Rauschenberg and Viola Frey take us into whole new areas with works of truly significant quality. It even features a stunning collection of work by local painter Daniel Sprick, adding yet another dimension. It's a transformational gift, and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with colleagues, students and our expanding audience."

Mr. Madden and the Madden Family Foundation have also provided support for students studying in the School of Art and Art History as well as underwriting the Madden Challenge, an undergraduate case competition in which first-year business students build a mobile app and present a plan to bring it to market. This $10 million transformational gift is the first major gift DU has received since announcing DU Impact 2025.

"Since my teenage years, I've been pretty passionate about art, and I really think that access to the arts is crucial for young people," said Madden. "I've tried to include fine art and artful design in my commercial real estate projects. Our Fiddler's Green campus was the original home of the Museum of Outdoor Art, and it's now the home of the MADDEN Museum of Art. I always look to how these projects can benefit young people and students, and I'm convinced that the University of Denver can carry these interests forward on multiple fronts."