Donor Profile: Paula and Phillip Kirkeby, Smith Andersen Editions
The de Saisset Museum is proud to hold the archive for Smith Andersen Editions, a nationally recognized fine art press based in Palo Alto, California and founded more than four decades ago by Paula Z. Kirkeby. Under Paula Kirkeby's vision and leadership, Smith Andersen Editions has distinguished itself as one of the pre-eminent fine art presses in the United States. Known for its unwavering commitment to serving artists, Smith Andersen Editions focuses on monotype and monoprint—two methods of printmaking that result in limited edition impressions.
The Kirkeby's have always been collectors and they first gave their support to the de Saisset by lending a print from their personal collection for the German Expressionist Woodcut exhibition here in 1980. They decided the de Saisset should own the work, thus making the first of many gifts to the Museum. Their efforts for the Museum since then have gone beyond donations—they have assisted with financial support, exhibitions, fundraisers, provided advice, and direct other donors our way.
Since the press opened, Smith Andersen Editions has regularly invited artists whose imagery lends itself to monotype and derivative processes to spend dedicated time at their facility. While in residence, the artists encounter a nurturing environment that supports creative freedom and encourages experimentation without limitation. The prints that result are rich, luminous, and evocative works of art. Like a painting or a drawing, they reveal the presence of the artist's hand and speak to the immediacy of the creative process.
As respected artists from throughout the U.S. create works at the press, prints go into the de Saisset's collection. The Kirkeby's sees these museum proofs as a good foundation—a core—to attract other donors, thus building a strong collection of works on paper from the 1970s onward. Paula and Phillip did not leave this dream for the Museum to chance. As they help other art lovers develop their personal collections, the Kirkeby's encourage them to make gifts to the de Saisset Museum. James and Maria Cockrum, David Devine, Robert Prentice, and Sharon and Robert Yoerg are a few collectors the Kirkebys have directed our way.
The Smith Andersen Editions Archive at the de Saisset Museum has been built over many years through the generosity of Paula Z. and Philip Kirkeby. Each time an artist is invited to work at the press, the de Saisset Museum receives a gift of one print created during that residency. Today, the de Saisset holds nearly 170 works from the Smith Andersen Editions Archive, and it continues to grow. We are grateful for the Kirkeby's generosity and vision, which has created a solid foundation of contemporary prints within the de Saisset's collection.