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Nixon Peabody’s Art & Cultural Institutions Team Plays Key Role in SFMOMA Expansion; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to Expand; Museum Will Showcase Fisher Family’s Renowned Art Collection

March 15, 2010
Allison McClain

San Francisco, CA. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the family of Doris and the late Donald Fisher, co-founders of the Gap Inc., have reached an agreement to showcase their renowned 1,100-piece collection of modern and contemporary artwork as the museum plans an extensive expansion. This historic agreement, which will transform SFMOMA, was formalized after the Fishers announced their intention to loan their private collection to the museum prior to the death of Mr. Fisher in September 2009. International law firm Nixon Peabody LLP’s Art & Cultural Institutions practice, led by partner Thaddeus J. Stauber, served as counsel and advisor to the parties to craft their unprecedented agreement.

The museum will exhibit the Fisher Collection for a 100-year period with the option to renew, an extension of the originally planned 25-year loan. The collection boasts an impressive array of painting, sculpture, photography, and video works, by masters including Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and many others.

“In bringing the prominent Fisher Collection to SFMOMA, the museum has secured a place among the world’s leading modern and contemporary art institutions” said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “Working closely with the Fisher family, Thad and his team were critical to helping us realize our collective goal of bringing the Fisher Collection to SFMOMA and defining the museum’s future expansion.”

In addition, Mr. Stauber and team supported SFMOMA’s effort to raise landmark contributions of $250M, more than 50 percent of the $480M campaign to expand the museum and grow its endowment. These pledges from museum leadership will fuel SFMOMA’s plans to triple its gallery and public spaces; offer enhanced exhibitions, educational programs, and services for the public; and showcase the Fisher Collection. Of the total raised to date, $100M will go toward SFMOMA’s endowment—increasing it by 100 percent—to support expanded programming and operations and to ensure the institution’s long-term success.

Charles R. Schwab, chair of SFMOMA’s Board of Trustees, added “Thad's negotiating skills, sense of urgency, and advice were essential in guiding our board to a successful and long lasting agreement with the Fisher Trust."