Barry Museum of Art to Receive Major Donation from Waitzer Glasses Collection « News @ ODU


The Barry Museum of Art at Old Dominion University announces a major gift from the Leah and Richard Waitzer Foundation. The Art Glass Acquisitions of the late Leah and Richard Waitzer consist of 165 works of 20th century and contemporary glass sculpture. Thanks to the generosity of Leah and Richard’s three sons, Eddie, Brad and Scott Waitzer, directors of the Waitzer Foundation, the donation will more than double the Museum’s glass holdings.

The Waitzers were known as prominent civic leaders, philanthropists, and art collectors.

“Leah and Richard were enthusiastic, decisive and knowledgeable collectors, and they taught us a lot,” said Museum co-founder Richard Barry.

“We enjoyed the thrill of hunting with them,” added Museum co-founder Carolyn Barry. “They had a particularly keen eye for art and were generous in sharing their expertise with other collectors.”

The considerable collection chronicles design masters such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Frederick Carder, Émile Gallé and Nancy Daum Frères. Particular emphasis is placed on early studio glass sculptures: 12 works alone trace the arc of the career of Harvey Littleton, considered the founder of the American studio glass movement. Other early innovators and trailblazers represented in the acquisitions include Dominick Labino, Marvin Liposfsky, Toots Zynsky and Therman Statom. The Waitzers have wisely followed the development of studio glass in America and abroad with select international acquisitions. They grew with works by European artists who influenced their American counterparts, such as Italian maestro Lino Tagliapietra, German pioneer Erwin Eisch, and Czech sculptors František Vizner, Pavel Hlava, Petr Hora, and Stanislav Libenský. Over time, the Waitzer collection has been enriched with works by universally recognized artists, such as Australian ancestor Klaus Moje, Swedish sculptor Bertil Vallien and Japanese designers Kimiake Higuchi, Kyohei Fujita and Hiroshi Yamano.

“Waitzer’s gift will complement the museum’s extensive glass collections, creating one of the most significant collections of 20th-century and contemporary glass sculpture in the United States,” said Lewis Webb, chairman of the board of trustees. Barry Art Museum.

“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 gift will allow visitors and scholars to appreciate the Waitzers’ insightful approach to building a historical collection that traces modern glass movements.

“We are thrilled that our parents’ glassware collection remains intact as it reflects their progression in collecting over 40 years,” said Brad Waitzer, Chairman of the Leah and Richard Waitzer Foundation. “The gift also aligns with their lifelong interest in education, the arts, and the economic and cultural development of Hampton Roads. As a bonus, it seems particularly fitting that it continues to live with the Barrys’ collection as the couples had been traveling and collecting together for many years.”

“On behalf of the University, we express our sincere and enduring appreciation to the Waitzer family for their generous and significant gift to the Barry Art Museum,” said ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. “This collection represents a bold step forward and will continue to captivate and inspire current and future generations.”

The Museum is expected to hold a public exhibition of the Waitzer Collection in the spring of 2023 and will establish a gallery dedicated to their philanthropy.

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