Collection of Beloved Longtime MoMA Board Member
Featuring Works by Edouard Vuillard, Albert and Diego Giacometti, Kees Van Dongen, Robert Rauschenberg , Diego Rivera and Others
On May 9, 2012 at 11am, Doyle New York will auction the Joanne Melniker Stern Collection. A longtime member of MoMA's Board of Trustees, Mrs. Stern assembled a marvelous collection comprising works by Edouard Vuillard, Diego and Alberto Giacometti, Kees Van Dongen and other prominent 20th century artists.
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Joanne Melniker Stern (1924-2011) was a graduate of The George School and Smith College, where she majored in art history and was later to serve on the Visiting Committee for the Smith College Museum of Art. A lifetime attachment to New York City began after college when she became a photo and entertainment editor at LOOK Magazine.
In the late 1950s and early 60s, when Mrs. Stern was young and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was also relatively young and doing new and exciting things, Mrs. Stern began her long and distinguished association with the Museum. One of these projects was the Junior Council, of which she became a member and later a co-chairman with her close friend Lily Auchincloss. In 1970, Mrs. Stern joined MoMA's Board of Trustees and served on a myriad of committees over her forty-one year association with the Museum. Mrs. Stern chaired MoMA’s Prints and Illustrated Books Committee from 1973-1998, and served on the Executive Committee, the Development Committee, the House Committee, the Committees on Drawings, Film, Publications, Education, Archives and Education. Additionally, she was the President of the International Council from 1971-1986, and later served as Vice Chairman and President Emerita. Her long-time devotion was especially felt and warmly appreciated by the staff of the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books throughout her twenty-five year tenure as their committee chair. Her service on all these committees was exemplary, and she brought a level of inspiration to her every endeavor.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Stern was a dedicated, full time volunteer to a number of worthy not-for-profit organizations and had a life-long commitment to child advocacy and the arts. This included a 50-year involvement with Citizens Committee for Children (CCC), which began in 1961 when she attended CCC’s very first Community Leadership Course at the suggestion of her then mother-in-law, CCC founder Marion Rosenwald Ascoli. Not only did Joanne adopt CCC as her own, but she served as a generational bridge for the Rosenwalds and CCC, as her stepdaughter, Chris Stern Hyman, serves as its president today. In 2008, Mrs. Stern was honored with CCC’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award.
Mrs. Stern also served on the Board of Trustees of the School of American Ballet, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Northside Center for Child Development, and the American Association of University Women Educational Fund.
Growing up as an only child, Mrs. Stern passed much of her time reading. She was later attracted to works by Vuillard, with cozy images – soft and reassuring – like curling up with a good book. She was also drawn to images of women and domestic life. Mrs. Stern was interested in art history at an early age, and she developed a fine eye for color and design. The paintings and prints in her collection were deeply personal to her. She would enjoy and contemplate them as she would a book. Her extraordinary intelligence, wit, warmth and humor informed everything she did, and her passion for the world of art is exemplified in the wide range of treasures she collected, from works by Edouard Vuillard and Camille Pissaro, to Alberto and Diego Giacometti, Diego Rivera and Robert Rauschenberg, among others.
The Joanne Melniker Stern Collection comprises lots 106 through 119 in the sale.