The Barry Art Museum will receive a major donation from the Waitzer Glass Collection – The Virginian-Pilot
The Barry Museum of Art at Old Dominion University will receive 165 glass sculptures from the Leah and Richard Waitzer Foundation, more than doubling the museum’s glass collection.
The pieces – 20th century and contemporary glass – come from the late couple’s three sons, Eddie, Brad and Scott, directors of the Waitzer Foundation.
Former Waitzers were prominent philanthropists and civic leaders, and avid patrons of the arts. They gave generously to the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Virginia Symphony, and Eastern Virginia Medical School. Richard Waitzer died in 2019; Leah Waitzer died in 2021, months after a building named after the family opened at EVMS.
“Leah and Richard were enthusiastic, decisive and skilled collectors, and they taught us a lot,” Barry Museum co-founder Richard Barry said in a statement. His wife, Carolyn, added: “We enjoyed the thrill of hunting with them.”
The gift includes works by some of the best-known names in glass, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, Frederick Carder, Émile Gallé and Nancy Daum Frères. Particular emphasis is placed on early studio glass sculptures, and 12 pieces trace the career of Harvey Littleton, considered the founder of the American Studio Glass movement, which began in the 1960s. Other early innovators and pioneers depicted in the collection are Dominick Labino, Marvin Lipofsky and Toots Zynsky.
“We are thrilled that these remarkable pieces remain here in Hampton Roads on the ODU campus to honor their legacy through education,” said Charlotte Potter Kasic, Executive Director of the Barry Art Museum. “The Waitzers were visionaries – and mentors to many of us in the field. They inspired our own founders and set a precedent for art appreciation across Norfolk and region.
The Barry is planning an exhibition of the Waitzer collection for spring 2023 and will create a gallery dedicated to their philanthropy.
Editor Denise M. Watson contributed to this report.