Generosity of Gund family continues

Generosity of Gund family continues

By Johanna M. Blume, curator of Western art, history and culture

George Gund III

The Eiteljorg Museum recently received a generous gift of art from the estate of George Gund III (1937-2013). The gift included 136 pieces, primarily works on paper such as lithographs (many hand-colored), watercolors, etchings, pencil and ink drawings. The collection also includes several oil paintings.

You might have heard the Gund family’s name from their previous ownership of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA. But the Gund name also is very well known in the Western art world. If it seems familiar in that context, it is because the Eiteljorg back in 2004 received a transformative gift of art from the family of George Gund II (1888-1966), for whom the Gund Gallery of Western Art is named.

Father and son shared a love of Western art and collected many of the same artists. Some highlights of this most recent gift include a first edition copy of Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio: Hunting Scenes and Amusements of the Rocky Mountains and Prairies of America (1844) by George Catlin (American, 1796-1872); a mixed-media drawing by Maynard Dixon (American, 1875-1946) titled Road House (1903-1904); a gouache and watercolor on paper by John Hauser (American, 1859-1913) titled Six Indian Riders in the Snow on Horseback (1902); and two oil paintings by Henry Francois Farny (American, born in France, 1847- 1916): Indian Hunter (1905) and Snow Looking at Elk (undated).

The generosity of art collectors is instrumental in helping the Eiteljorg grow its permanent collection. For example, the George Catlin portfolio is a remarkable addition to the collection. Catlin was an important early American artist who produced many images of the American West and Native Americans during his travels. Until now we haven’t had any of his work in the Eiteljorg’s collection. With the addition of the portfolio we will be able to tell a fuller story of the early explorer-artists in the American West.

The Gund Gallery, one of two Western Art Galleries at the Eiteljorg, is named in recognition of the generosity of the Gund family toward the museum.
Image courtesy of Hadley Fruits Photography.

Gund Western Lecture Series returns

The contributions of the Gund family to the world of Western art, history and culture also are reflected in a noteworthy Eiteljorg event that returns in 2022 after a break of a few years.

The Gund Western Lecture Series features public talks by scholars of the American West about their work and research. At 6 p.m. Thursday April 14, the Eiteljorg will welcome Dr. Laura J. Arata, a public historian and professor at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Arata will discuss her book, Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, the Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870-1930.

Dr. Laura J. Arata

The event is a real occasion for aficionados of the West, and a reception will be held at the museum along with the lecture. A book signing will follow. Members $15, non-members $25; register at

The Gund Western Lecture Series is sponsored by the Buckingham Foundation.



This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Storyteller magazine.