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The Source: Rockefeller And Picasso

Museum of Modern Art

An exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art takes the public into the private collection of one of the 20th century's greatest patrons of modern art, Nelson Rockefeller.

The tapestries of Pablo Picasso's masterworks, commissioned for the Rockefeller compound at Kykuit, have been largely absent from the art scene, remaining within the family's estate. This is the first time so many of these tapestries have been presented together outside their original home. 

Hand woven by Madame J. de la Baume Dürrbach, the massive tapestries--some as large as 12' by 9' in size--were closely collaborated on by Picasso. 

Rockefeller was a politician, Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford. He was a public servant, holding several high-level positions in different presidential cabinets. He was a businessman, working for several family institutions like Chase National Bank.

His fascination with art came from his mother, Abigail, who helped found the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He was a trustee at that institution for several years, and at times guided the decisions in art acquisitions. Picasso and the modern art movement were said to be his preference. 


  • Katie Luber, Director of the San Antonio Museum of Art
  • William Rudolph, Marie and Hugh Halff Curator of American Art and Mellon Chief Curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art
  • Richard Norton Smith, author of the book "On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller"
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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org