2013-14 Davis Gallery Exhibitions
Alumni Collections: Dr. George N. Abraham '59
March 28 - April 18, 2014
Opening reception Friday, March 28,
6 - 8 p.m.
The collection started accidentally in 1965, with an introduction to Franz Bader, a delightful gentleman who owned a marvelous art gallery in Washington, DC. Franz convinced me that I should collect art and suggested that I think about collecting works on paper. The reason, works on paper i.e. prints such lithographs, etchings etc, were by anyone’s current standards very cheap and underappreciated as great art, and he felt in the future would become very sought after. He was right. The first work on paper he sold me was “Sur la scene” on the stage an etching and aquatint by Degas for $99.00. When he showed it to me my words were “I don’t like it”. His words to me were “You will!” With Franz’s guidance I acquired prints by masters such as Cezanne, Rembrandt, Renoir, Whistler, Kollwitz, Toulouse-Lautrec, Goya, Hogarth, and sothers. Then something happened. Franz was right. Prints by the deceased masters began to be collected, were highly sought after and prices started to shoot high. In 1977, another less desireable state of the Degas print, trimmed, but otherwise in excellent condition was listed for $4500 in the print catalogue of the noted David Tunick Gallery in New York City. So based on economics, it seemed appropriate to change direction and to begin to acquire prints by contemporary masters. Besides my walls were drab since all the early prints were inked in shades of gray and black. Modern prints exploded with color, and variation in size and shape, and probed the limits of what was technically possible by combining various print making techniques that had evolved over time. So works by Alpers, Rosenquist, Winters, Stella, Johns, Lewitt, Sienna, Kentridge, coupled with etchings by Picasso, Levine, Baskin, Close, and Kleinschmidt found their home and fit well on my walls and are juxtaposed with and fit well with the old guys. But in art, new trends and creative directions constantly evolve. As a member of the photo acquisitions committee of the George Eastman House international Museum of Photography, and a former member of the acquisitions committee of the Memorial Art Gallery, I found all forms and periods of art intrigued me and so walls of one room are graced with contemporary photography, watercolors of English landscape artists hang on another, oils on board and canvas, and chalk drawings on paper have found their way onto the walls also, and my closets burst with other joys that will take their place on these walls sometime in the future. So unfocused, so eclectic, so mixed up, and so ageless and so full of visual pleasure. I am lucky to be surrounded by these treasures and hope you enjoy viewing some of them.
A native of Geneva, Dr. George Abraham graduated from Hobart College in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in math and chemistry. While at Hobart, he was active with the Herald, Little Theatre, Schola Cantorum and Canterbury Club. After graduation, Abraham went on to earn both his master of science degree and medical degree from State University of New York at Buffalo. Abraham's medical career took him to California, New York and Washington, D.C. where he worked on a variety of national initiatives surrounding cancer research and treatment. With this focus, he returned to Upstate New York where he served in a variety of leadership positions at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in addition to Director of the Center on Aging and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. The author of more than 100 scientific articles, three books and three patents, he is currently a Medical Center Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology and Pediatrics, and Oncology. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. One of the greatest credits to Abraham's career in research was the discovery of an incipient gene mutation that causes benign lymphocytes to morph into malignant tumors. The discovery of this cell receptor now serves as a therapeutic target in cancer treatment and gene therapy methods. A dedicated philanthropist, Abraham also serves on the Board of the and Geneva Arts Development Council and donated several of artist James Rosenquist's paintings to Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He is the recipient of the National Arthritis Foundation Research Award, the Allergic Diseases Academic Award and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Medical Scientist Training Program Grant.