Scandinavian Connections

Ruth Sibley Gade was gallery founder Emily Sibley Watson’s niece and wife of the Gallery's architect John Allyne Gade.  Mrs. Gade donated Jonas Lie’s Morning on the River in memory of her cousin James G. Averell, the beginning of a long history of donations by the Sibley and Watson families.  Morning on the River was included in the Gallery’s Inaugural Exhibition. 

The choice of a Scandinavian artist for the donation was unsurprising.  Like Lie, John Gade was Norwegian-American:  his father was a Norwegian diplomat.  He had his early schooling in Norway, and studied architecture at Harvard before joining McKim, Mead & White after graduation. 

In 1912, as president of the American-Scandinavian Society, Gade helped organize the landmark Scandinavian Art Exhibition, which toured five US cities in 1912 and 1913.  Lie was chairman of the exhibition’s reception committee.

Frode Rambusch, Danish painter of MAG’s Zodiac Fresco at the entrance to the 1913 building and a charter member of the American-Scandinavian Society, was also a member of the committee.  In another MAG connection, George Herdle probably saw the exhibition in Buffalo in January 1913, since a signed copy of the exhibition catalogue was donated by Herdle to the Gallery’s Library.