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Albert Bender: SF Philanthropist Extraordinaire & SFAI's Library


SFAI’s Anne Bremer Memorial Library dedicatory wood relief, gold leaf tablet, The Soil by Jacques Schnier, 1935


Albert Bender (1866-1941) never took a class at the School, he never taught at SFAI, and was not an artist. Bender was a Board member (1933-1941) but most importantly he was the philanthropic underpinning for Bay Area art and artists from the 1920s until his death in 1941. He was introduced to the California art world through his cousin, the painter and poet, Anne Bremer. An early collector and supporter of Edward Weston, Bender also sponsored Ansel Adams’ Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras portfolio in 1927 as well as being instrumental in bringing Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and their artwork to San Francisco. Erin O’Toole writes that Bender gave SFMOMA “11,000 objects” noting that Bender’s “mission was to support living artists.” Bender was particularly important to SFAI--funding scholarships, commissioning artwork for the School, providing annual donations, and underwriting SFAI’s Anne Bremer Memorial Library.


With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.


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