Lynda and Stewart Resnick give $10 million to establish Herbert Bayer center on Aspen Institute campus |

Lynda and Stewart Resnick give $10 million to establish Herbert Bayer center on Aspen Institute campus

Andrew Travers
The Aspen Times
Herbert Bayer photographed at his home on Red Mountain in 1965.
Aspen Historical Society/Aspen Illustrated News Collection

Lynda and Stewart Resnick have donated $10 million to the Aspen Institute to establish a new center dedicated to the work of Bauhaus artist and Aspen icon Herbert Bayer.

The gift, announced Saturday at the Institute’s annual summer celebration dinner, will fund the construction and operation of the new Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies. As conceived, the center would exhibit Bayer’s work from the Resnick’s extensive Bayer collection, the Institute’s holdings, as well as pieces on loan from museums and private collections, while housing archives from Bayer scholars and public education.

Aspen Institute president and CEO Dan Porterfield called the gift “one of the most generous, transformational investments in the Aspen Institute.”

Bayer — the Bauhaus master who designed the Institute campus, buildings, sculptures, parks and earthworks — lived and worked in Aspen from 1946 to 1975. His legacy has been celebrated widely in Aspen over the past year as the world honors the centennial of the Bauhaus school.

The announcement of the Resnicks’ gift comes as Bauhaus scholars and experts descend on the campus for “Bauhaus: The Making of Modern,” a three-day symposium focused on the legacy of the Bauhaus art school and movement.

“We sit on an art masterpiece at the Institute,” Lynda Resnick, the philanthropist and vice chair of the Wonderful Company, said Wednesday. “It’s hard to fully understand how unusual this is for a place to have been designed by one visionary. That includes everything from the buildings to some of the furniture, to the soap in the soap dishes early on, to the fabulous posters that he designed to lure people to Aspen. Now, for perpetuity, everyone will realize that.”

Resnick is envisioning multiple galleries to display Bayer’s work and rotating Bayer exhibitions as well as a history center and archive space. The Institute’s current facilities do not have the climate control and security required by major loaning institutions to lend artwork to the Institute for display. The new center would change that.

“We will be able to attract other collections for shows, other museums that have strict requirements,” Resnick said.

A site has not been selected for the new building, according to Porterfield, and a land use application has not yet been filed with the city. But the Institute is projecting to open the center for Summer 2022.

“We have the opportunity to do something majestic with the aesthetic legacy of the Bauhaus movement in Aspen,” Porterfield said.

The center is aimed at educating the public about Bayer’s life and work, as well as his principles of design and creativity. Porterfield said the center’s work would be integrated across the Institute’s diverse programming in art, entrepreneurship and civil society.

The Resnicks, longtime homeowners in Aspen and supporters of the Institute, began collecting Bayer’s work in 2006. They’ve since built a collection nearing 100 pieces, which has provided the backbone for several exhibitions at the Institute in recent years, including “A Total Work of Art: Bauhaus-Bayer-Aspen,” which is currently on display in the Resnick Gallery in the Doerr-Hosier Center.

The Institute in 2012 shifted its visual art program to focus solely on Bayer, and has since then not accepted gifts or loans of artwork by other artists. A years-long string of shows focused on Bayer’s diverse work has followed. Last year, the Institute installed Bayer’s “Anaconda” sculpture on the campus, complementing the artist’s iconic Aspen works like the Marble Garden and “Sgraffito” mural that peppering the 40 acres of the Bayer-designed campus.

“The center will capture and record the ways Bayer and the Bauhaus movement shaped both the city of Aspen and the Institute,” Porterfield said. “It will give us an incredible new resource to promote learning by members of the community, students and artists alike.”