Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer’s family donates 13 artworks to Aspen Institute

Staff report

Family members of Bauhaus artist and Aspen icon Herbert Bayer have donated at least 13 artworks to the Aspen Institute, the nonprofit announced Friday.

The pieces come from the collection of Britt Bayer, wife of Javan Bayer, stepson to Herbert Bayer. Britt Bayer died in September 2018 and was an active member of the Aspen Institute Art Advisory Committee as a champion of Herbert Bayer’s artwork who strove to ensure that his legacy would be enhanced and preserved, especially on the Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus.

They include two large paintings on canvas, four acrylic pieces on paper, four watercolors and several drawings and collages.

The works of art span most of Bayer’s adult life from 1919-1985 and are some of the most significant contributions of artwork in the history of the Aspen Institute, an announcement stated.

“We are honored to steward Herbert Bayer’s legacy by caring for and displaying his artwork on the campus he designed, and are deeply grateful to Mrs. Bayer and her family for this significant gift,” said Aspen Institute president and CEO Dan Porterfield. “The timing of this gift is especially exciting as we embark on the creation of the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies on our campus — a transformational new resource through which we will preserve and celebrate Bayer’s work in a facility befitting of his artistic genius.”

The Institute is currently working to restore the iconic Marble Garden sculpture created by Bayer and Elizabeth Paepcke in 1955. In 2018, it acquired Bayer’s Anaconda marble sculpture and installed it prominently on the campus.

The Resnick Center, made possible by a $10 million gift from philanthropists and entrepreneurs Lynda and Stewart Resnick, is planned for a 2022 opening, though the Institute has yet to begin the public land-use approval process with the city of Aspen.

The new building aims to preserve and honor the art of Bayer, showcase and exhibit its Bayer works, grow its collection, borrow from major cultural institutions and create new exhibitions that will educate the public about Bayer’s remarkable legacy.

“For 30 years, Herbert Bayer transformed the town and created the campus of the Aspen Institute,” Lynda Resnick, vice chair and co-owner of The Wonderful Company, said in the announcement. “So many things we take for granted exist because of his holistic approach to design and his integration of all artistic disciplines, carrying on the original tenets of the Bauhaus. I am thrilled that his legacy will be celebrated at the Aspen Institute, and Britt’s generous gift will further enhance the appreciation of Bayer’s immense contribution to our community.”