Boston MFA Gets Major Gift of Photography


The MFA Boston’s 9,000-piece photography collection got a major boost over the weekend when longtime MFA trustee and Boston-area native Saundra B. Lane donated the collection of 20th-century American art she built with her late husband, William H. Lane, to the museum. The Lane Collection includes 6,000 photographs, 100 works on paper and 25 paintings by a who’s who of American modernists. According to the Boston Globe, the MFA has stated that the value of the Lane Collection runs into “nine figures.”

The Lanes have been deeply involved with the MFA for decades: Saundra Lane has served on the board since 1987 and William Lane served from 1982 until his death in 1995. They’ve donated art on many occasions since the ’70s and have endowed several museum positions.

William Lane started building his art collection in the late 1940s by buying paintings by Stuart Davis, Ben Shahn and Marsden Hartley, among many others. The Lanes became interested in photography in the ’60s, and purchased Charles Sheeler’s entire photographic estate following the artist’s death in 1965.

The Lane Collection includes 2,500 photos by each Sheeler and Edward Weston and 500 by Ansel Adams, as well as works on paper by artists like Dove, Sheeler, Davis and Georgia O’Keeffe, and paintings by John Marin, Franz Kline and Hyman Bloom, among others. In July 2013 the MFA will organize an exhibition of some 40 Lane Collection photos.


Above: Charles Sheeler, Criss-Crossed Conveyors – Ford Plant, Negative date: 1927. Photograph, gelatin silver print. The Lane Collection. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.