Behind That Major Bequest to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Born in 1941, the late Daniel W. Dietrich II passed away last year at the age of 73. Deitrich was heir to a family conglomerate that made Luden’s cough drops, and he was once vice president of Luden's Candy. He also had a deep passion for the arts, and majored in art history at Hamilton College. He was an actor at Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, where he acted alongside the likes of Morgan Freeman. Deitrich was a passionate art collector and scholar.  He slowed his active collcting in the mid 1970s, but continued to amass and support the work of Philadelphia contemporary artists. 

On the philanthropic end, Dietrich focused his philanthropy on the Keystone State, where he lived. In 2011, he gave $265 million to Carnegie Mellon University. He also gave a large $125 million gift to University of Pittsburgh that same year. Some of his arts giving included support of Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Philadelphia Museum of Art. In the Spring of 2015, Dietrich gave $10 million to the curatorial program at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Now, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has announced a bequest of more than 50 works of art and an endowment gift of $10 million from Dietrich. The collection includes contemporary works from artists such as Cy Twombly, Philip Guston, Agnes Martin, and Eva Hesse; major 20th-century American artists, as well as 19th-century Philadelphia realist Thomas Eakins, are also included in Dietrich's collection.

Additionally, the Dietrich bequest includes three works by self-taught African American painter Horace Pippin, including "The Getaway" and "Study for Barracks," which conveys the everyday activity of black combat soldiers in a dugout during World War II.

Of the gift, Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, noted: “Dan Dietrich’s life revolved around the arts, with interests that ranged from painting and poetry to music and theater. He had a deep and abiding love for contemporary culture and delighted in sharing this with others."