Luther W. Brady Estate Bestows Multimillion-Dollar Art Collection to George Washington University

The donated works will go on display at GW’s Luther W. Brady Art Gallery in September 2023.

May 31, 2023

Luther Brady Art Gallery

WASHINGTON (May 31, 2023) – The celebrated oncologist and philanthropist Luther W. Brady bequeathed more than 130 works of art, valued at over $3 million, to the gallery that bears his name at the George Washington University. The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery will display the donated pieces this fall. The Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, received more than 120 artworks from the Brady estate with an equivalent value and will launch an exhibit featuring the donated pieces this summer.

The Brady Art Gallery’s exhibit displaying GW’s share of the bequeathed artworks will launch this September and run until March 2024. The exhibit includes paintings and sculptures by internationally renowned artists like Richard Diebenkorn, Henry Moore, Sean Scully, and Frank Stella. Among the featured pieces are Edna Andrade’s Temple Plan (1986), Barbara Hepworth’s Autumn Day (1968), and Jules Olitski’s Pleasures 3 (2001).

The Brady Art Gallery and the Reading Public Museum are collaborating on a joint catalogue of the works the Brady estate bestowed to both institutions. The joint catalogue will include original research and writing by GW students who completed a graduate seminar led by GW associate professor of art history Bibiana Obler in Spring 2023. Students learned about mid-20th century art and gained practical knowledge about museum curation and the ties that connect artists, donors, and institutions.   

“This exhibit will showcase Dr. Brady’s continuing impact on GW,” Olivia Kohler-Maga, assistant director of the Brady Art Gallery, said. “Our students are already working with this noteworthy collection to gain important real-world experience researching and writing for a catalogue and exhibition. They are the first of future generations of GW students that will benefit from Dr. Brady’s generosity.”

The Reading Public Museum will exhibit its portion of the Brady art collection from July 8, 2023, through Jan. 7, 2024. The exhibit features significant pieces of art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Works by some of the most influential artists of the Abstract Expressionist and American Modernist movements will be on display, including Hans Hofmann, Louise Nevelson, Robert Motherwell, and Helen Frankenthaler.

“Friends of Luther W. Brady in Washington and Reading are truly appreciative of Dr. Brady’s generosity in sharing his important collections with students, faculty, and the general public,” John Wetenhall, associate professor of museum studies and director of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, said. “He truly understood the inspirational powers of modern art and championed creativity for future generations.”

A triple alumnus of the George Washington University, Brady built a remarkable legacy in medicine, academia, and the arts. Brady was a leading radiation oncologist who helped pioneer breakthrough treatments for eye tumors and cervical cancer. For more than 50 years, he imparted his experience and expertise to students at Hahnemann University School of Medicine and Drexel University College of Medicine. Brady was a dedicated patron of the arts, serving on a number of museum boards and supporting prestigious institutions like the National Gallery of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Brady died in 2018 at age 92.

Brady left a lasting impact on his alma mater. His namesake gallery, located in the Corcoran Flagg Building, houses the thousands of works of historic and contemporary art of the GW Collection. His bequest also included endowment funding for a radiation oncology professorship in the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Brady took an active role in the stewardship of the university and its institutions, serving on the GW Board of Trustees for over 20 years and sitting on the Board of Directors of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum.

“Dr. Brady was a visionary for expanding access to art at GW,” Kohler-Maga said. Starting in the 1990s, he worked tirelessly for over two decades to provide the GW community with the opportunity to view the work of internationally acclaimed artists. The gift of these major artworks is a continuation of his legacy, yet another enduring contribution to an institution he believed gave him so much.”