The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art joins the Fields and Kemper families in mourning the passing of Laura K. Fields, a longtime member of the museum’s Board of Trustees and a champion of modern and contemporary art. Mrs. Fields died Thursday, Jan. 9.
With her influence, the foundation that carries her great uncle’s name, the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee, created a $10 million collecting initiative in 1999 that resulted in major contemporary art acquisitions for the Nelson-Atkins. Among them were El Anatsui’s stunning Dusasa I, a tapestry of flattened liquor bottle caps stitched together with copper wire, which now hangs in Bloch Lobby, and a recently installed sculpture by artist Maya Lin, Silver Missouri, a work of recycled silver that is part of her series about water conservation.
Mrs. Fields and her husband, Michael, were generous and longtime supporters of the museum. She served several terms as a trustee beginning in 1988, and she served on numerous committees.
The Nelson-Atkins also mourns the passing of former Trustee Richard M. Levin, who died Jan. 8 following a brief illness. With his late wife, Carol, Levin established the Richard and Carol Levin Fund for American Art at the museum. Levin’s generosity can be seen in the museum’s American Galleries, where the fund provided support in the acquisition of Thomas Hart Benton’s Persephone. The fund also supported new frames for such works as George Bellows’ Frankie the Organ Boy and Pueblo Tesuque #2 in a reinstallation project.