Recent Gift to DePaul Art Museum

CHICAGO — Collectors and artists in Chicago who are seeking to build a legacy of the city’s modern and emerging artists are finding a home for artwork in the DePaul Art Museum’s collection. Located on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus, the museum recently acquired more than 100 works by Chicago-based artists, underlining its commitment to curate, exhibit and collect art from the local community.

Collector Chuck Thurow donated the 114 works by 59 Chicago artists to the DePaul Art Museum’s permanent collection, strengthening the museum’s hometown focus that positions Chicago as a global city. The works include paintings, photography, sculpture, drawings and other works on paper.

“This gift supports the DePaul Art Museum’s vision to reflect the history of art in Chicago, from the modern era to the present,” said Julie Rodrigues Widholm, director and chief curator of the museum. “Whether artists have spent their whole career here, studied here or were born here, we are interested in all of those scenarios in which Chicago is a touch point for artists.”

“It is significant that this gift is from Chuck Thurow, who rallied support for artists in Chicago as director of the Hyde Park Arts Center and has played a significant role in the story of art in Chicago that we’re trying to tell,” Widholm added.

Many of the artists were not previously represented in the DePaul Art Museum’s collection, and the donation significantly expands the museum’s holdings of local art. Works include:


  • Paintings by Jim Lutes, Phyllis Bramson, Candida Alvarez and Philip Hanson.
  • Photography by Dawoud Bey, Bob Thall, Jay Boersma, Ben Gest, Shane Huffman, Lisa Lindvay and Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford.
  • Works on paper by Linda Kramer, Oli Watt, Richard Rezac, Mike Lash, Paul LaMantia, Eleanor Speiss-Ferris, Max King Cap, Karl Wirsum and Sandra Perlow.
  • Works from Latino artists including Juan Angel Chavez, Nicolas de Jesus, Arnaldo Roche, Michael Hernandez de Luna, Paul Sierra and Santiago Filemon.
  • Early work from Theaster Gates, Brian Calvin and Marie Krane Bergman.
  • Small sculptures by Chris Garofalo, Faheem Majeed, and Marva Jolly.
  • Works by self-taught artists: Mr. Imagination, Derek Webster and Stephen Warde Anderson.


Thurow collected the artwork during his tenure as director of the Hyde Park Art Center on Chicago’s South Side, from 1998 to 2010. Throughout his career, Thurow said he worked to “make Chicago a great place for artists to live and work.”

“Part of that is not only the exhibition spaces, but places that are building a legacy of art in the city, and DePaul is one of those places. I was very delighted to give the work to their collection,” Thurow said.

DePaul’s faculty and students will have access to study these works at the museum. According to Thurow, he was drawn to that scholarship and the museum’s connection to Chicago.

“It’s a chance to tackle the question: What is the relationship between the physical place and the creativity in that place? And that’s an exciting topic to me, to have the collection in an academic setting where people are looking at those kinds of questions. That’s one of the reasons I love having given the material to DePaul,” said Thurow.

Earlier this year, the DePaul Art Museum lent several works by Chicago artists to the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago for its “Monster Roster” exhibition. Thurow noticed that the holdings from DePaul rounded out the show. “You would not be able to do a show in-depth like that without the DePaul Art Museum.”

Chicago artists are also featured in this summer’s exhibitions at the DePaul Art Museum. Tony Fitzpatrick’s “The Secret Birds” and Barbara Rossi’s “Poor Traits” and “Eye Owe You!” are on display through Aug. 21.

Widholm hopes that Thurow’s donation will be a catalyst for other gifts.

“As we seek to expand the art historical canon for future generations to study, I hope people will think of us if they have work by significant, interesting artists with ties to Chicago. We would like to be the home for that work to create a meaningful platform for its study and display alongside great works of art from around the world.” she said.


image above: Candida Alvarez, “Son So & So,” Acrylic and Graphite, 2001.