In October, the Nasher Sculpture Center will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a tip of the cap to its founders. In Pursuit of the Masters: Stories from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, which opens Saturday, Sept. 20, offers not only an all-encompassing view of the couple’s prized possessions but also insight into their collecting philosophy and the importance of art in their lives. The show, which runs through Jan. 4, 2009, features a new audio tour that recounts the stories that the collection is built on.
During a preview on Friday morning, Nancy Nasher, the couple’s youngest daughter, spoke passionately about some of the show’s highlights and what it was like to grow up around such impressive objects, some of which are leaving the family home for the first time. While those of us viewing the sculptures in a museum are sure to keep our distance, Ms. Nasher and her sisters freely caressed objects like Jean Arp’s smooth bronze Torso with Buds and engaged with them as she said the artists intended.
“Everything I see here is recalling a memory,” she said.
One of those memories concerned a series of paintings that Patsy Nasher persuaded her friend Andy Warhol to do of her and her three daughters. The series was less of a commission and more of a bartering arrangement, in which Pasty traded objects from the family’s collection to the pop-art icon and avid collector in exchange for his services.
Mr. Warhol brought each sister into an apartment in the Stoneleigh Hotel, posed them just so and took what Nancy estimated at 200 Polaroids for him to take back to his studio. When Mr. Warhol sent the silk screens back to Dallas, Andrea and Joanie Nasher were pleased with the portraits, but youngest sister Nancy was not. The artist had given her a full head of black hair, darker than the brunette who had posed for him.
Nancy was eventually able to persuade her mother to call Warhol and ask for a redo, which is the portrait that hangs in the museum today.
And what happened to the original? Nancy guesses that, “either they ripped it up or they threw darts at it.”