Plenty of collectors want to donate artworks to museums, but the museums don’t always welcome them with open arms. “We say ‘no thanks’ 19 times out of 20,” says Betsy Broun, director at the American Art Museum. Sometimes the works aren’t museum-quality, other times they don’t fit with the museums’ philosophy.
But in 1986, representatives from the Sara Roby Foundation called the Smithsonian with an offer it couldn’t refuse: paintings by Edward Hopper, Raphael Soyer, Reginald Marsh and many more. They were all collected by Roby, who, in the early 1950s, took on a mission: to save Realistic art from the maws of Abstract Expressionism. The results of her dedication are on display at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum.
Cape Cod Morning is a classic Hopper from 1950. A woman peers out the window, bathed in sunlight, but framed in darkness. Black shutters frame the window and a