April 15, 2002 Vol. VI, No. 14

Three Valuable French Paintings Donated to CSUN

Landscapes Valued at $500,000 Presented by Ernest and Elaine Warsaw

Retired Los Angeles furniture manufacturer Ernest Warsaw (left)and his wife, Elaine, have donated three French paintings to Cal State Northridge, including a landscape by Maurice Vlaminck valued at nearly $300,000.

University officials said they were pleased that the Warsaws chose to give the artwork to Cal State Northridge. The gift is believed to be the largest donation of artwork ever received by CSUN.

"We are honored that Mr. and Mrs. Warsaw chose Cal State Northridge as the home for these important works of art," said William Toutant, dean of CSUN's College of Arts, Media, and Communication. "These are significant additions to the university's art collection."

The pieces, all landscapes, include "La Ferme de la Haute Folie," by French post impressionist painter Maurice Vlaminck, valued at $295,000; "Les Montagnes," by French impressionist painter Armand Guillaumin, valued at $125,000; and "Les Baux de Provence," by French post impressionist painter Jean Dufy, valued at $45,000.

Ernest Warsaw, 81, who lives in Century City, said the paintings used to hang in his Vernon office. But when he retired three months ago he had no where to put them.

"They are wonderful stuff, I just love them, but there was no place in my house for them. So I decided to give them to some place that would appreciate them," he said.

Warsaw had no connection to Cal State Northridge prior to his donation.

"But my appraiser, whom I've had for about 20 years, and my accountant for the past 35 years and with whom I am very close, are both alums of your university and they said I should really consider giving the pieces to Cal State Northridge," he said.

Warsaw said he considered giving the artwork to a museum, but chose not to.

"I think at Northridge they will be much more appreciated," he said. "Other places have so much artwork, these pieces might end up in storage somewhere. At Northridge, I know people will see them."

Toutant said that once insurance and security issues are worked out, the paintings will be displayed in buildings on campus.

"Once the word gets out, I'm sure there will be a fight over where they should hang," he said. "They are stunning. They will provide pleasure as well as cultural opportunities not just for our students, staff and faculty, but for the community at large. We want to make sure that wherever they are, the public has a chance to appreciate what beautiful pieces they are."

Warsaw said he hopes his gift will prompt other art collectors to consider donating pieces from their collections to Cal State Northridge.

"I hope my donation is the first in a long line of donations from lots of people so the university can get the beginnings of a substantial art collection," he said.

(From left to right): "Les Montagnes" by Armand Guillaumin; "Les Baux de Provence" by Jean Dufy; "La Ferme de la Haute Folie" by Maurice Vlaminck.

@csun | April 15, 2002 issue
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