The collection of Dr. Herbert J. Kayden and his wife, Dr. Gabrielle Reem, assembled with scholarship and connoisseurship over many decades serves as a tangible expression of their commitment to learning and to their personal engagement with the art and ideas of their time. The Kaydens collected works of signature 20th century modern and contemporary artists, often through the development of friendships with artists, such as Jacques Lipchitz, Joan Miró and Nadia Léger.
Dr. Reem’s purchase of a Henry Moore Reclining Figure in 1954, which had been in MoMA’s lending program, engendered a lifelong pursuit of modern sculpture and a continued relationship with the artist well into the 1970s. As patrons of Edith Halpert’s Downtown Gallery in the 1950s, the Kaydens not only developed deep friendships with Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Charles Sheeler and Jacob Lawrence, but also acquired significant work by all these artists. Frequent visits with Arnaldo Pomodoro allowed the Kaydens to build one of the richest collections of his work.
Herbert Kayden donated nearly 60 works by Jacob Lawrence, and one by his wife, Gwendolyn Knight, to Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center in memory of Dr. Reem, who had died in 2011. In 2015, the Cantor presented Promised Land: Jacob Lawrence at the Cantor, A Gift of the Kayden Family, showcasing the full range of one of the leading African-American artists of the 20th century. Following Herbert Kayden’s death in 2014, the exhibition serves as a fitting tribute to a couple who firmly believed in sharing the power of art and education with all.