The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation works to fulfill its founders’ commitment to providing philanthropic leadership in two principal arenas: medicine and the arts. Doing so, the Foundation awards grants for programs, facilities, and endowments to distinguished medical, educational, and cultural institutions in the United States and internationally. In the medical arena, the Foundation has for decades supported institutions at the forefront of biomedical research and clinical care, emphasizing healthcare for women. In the arts, the Foundation continues to support exhibitions and other programs that encourage appreciation for the visual and performing arts, promote scholarship, and otherwise enhance cultural life. Furthering the Cantor legacy in the visual arts, the Foundation’s activities in this arena have usually focused on the sculptor Auguste Rodin and his contemporaries.
In the arts, the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation recently underwrote a number of endeavors:
We supported the new Frank Sinatra School of the Arts’ exciting new campus in Queens with a grant to create the Iris Cantor Roof Garden. This stunning new space, with superb views of the neighborhood, is busy with performances and gatherings that showcase the talents of the School’s remarkable students and invite the neighborhood to use this community treasure.
- At the Brooklyn Museum of Art we provided a successful challenge grant to support the critically-needed modernization of the audio-visual systems of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium. This modernization enables the Auditorium to continue to serve as a very popular programming venue for the Museum and its community.
- Ours was the leadership gift in support of an important exhibition that visited seven museums in the United States and one in France between 2010 and 2012. The exhibition, traveling under the auspices of FRAME – French Regional and American Museum Exchange – is from the Musée des Beaux-arts de Dijon and features the most important sculptural group of 14th-century Europe, the Mourners, an extraordinary and influential project overseen by Claus Sluter. This show visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, St. Louis Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Art, and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, as well as Paris’ Musée du Cluny.
Recent grants have gone to a number of scholars to assist their research into the life and the work of Auguste Rodin. Among these Cantor Fellows are:
- Dr. Barbara Larson of the University of West Florida, who is studying The Gates of Hell in preparation for a book on the debate between Catholicism and science in early Third Republic France.
- Anne Carolien Willemijn Lindenhovius, who studied Rodin’s illustrations for Baudelaire’s poem “Les Fleurs du Mal” for her dissertation at the University of Utrecht. The Foundation supported her research at the Musée Rodin.
- Musicologist Olivia Mattis who used her fellowship to support research about Rodin and music in the archives of Paris’ Musée Rodin. Her article “Sculpture’s Beethoven: Rodin and Music” was delivered at the 2011 conference “Rival Sisters: Art and Music at the Birth of Modernism, 1800-1900″ at Stony Brook Manhattan.
“I am a musicologist specializing in the links between music and the visual arts. My project on Rodin and music, sponsored by the Cantor Foundation, will be published in the collection Rival Sisters: Art and Music at the Birth of Modernism. Without support from the Foundation I would not have been able to work on this project, and I remain deeply grateful.” – Olivia Mattis