Sam Hunter (1923–2014)

Founding director of the Rose Art Museum Sam Hunter has passed away at the age of ninety-one. Hunter came to Brandeis in 1960 as director of the Poses Institute of Fine Arts, and shortly thereafter became the first director of the Rose. He used an initial gift of $50,000 from collector Leon Mnuchin to establish the institution and to begin acquiring works. Although Hunter and Mnuchin set a limit of $5,000 per painting, they managed to gather early works by Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Tom Wesselmann, James Rosenquist, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Marisol, Morris Louis as well as major pieces by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. “The guiding principle of the selection was individual quality rather than tendency,” wrote Hunter for the brochure accompanying the collection’s exhibition. “As a matter of policy, the collection focused on younger artists with only a token representation of the older generation . . . Abstract Expressionism is the collection’s point of departure, taken at a point of subtle but significant transition.”