David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection

MFA strengthens collection of Native American art

The Museum announced in October 2018 the gift of the Estate of David Rockefeller from the Collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller—an acquisition comprising 52 works of art by Native American artists and works representing Native American culture. The objects in this cornerstone gift were assembled primarily by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller in the 1920s and 1930s, and include Plains beadwork, Navajo (Diné) weavings and rugs, Nez Perce cornhusk bags, and one Taos School painting, as well as pottery, watercolors, and baskets by a variety of artists from 13 Native American tribes and nations. Later works in the collection were added by their son David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy.

The MFA is one of two institutions to receive a gift of Native American art from the Estate of David Rockefeller, along with the Mesa Verde National Park Museum in Colorado, which John D. Rockefeller Jr. helped to sponsor in the 1920s. At the MFA, these objects present an opportunity to add greater depth and breadth to the existing Native American collection. The acquisition is part of the Museum’s renewed commitment to the collection, interpretation, and display of Native American art, as reflected in the Native North America Gallery in the Art of the Americas Wing and the exhibition “Collecting Stories: Native American Art,” on view April 14, 2018–March 10, 2019.