Art Group

Foundation Makes Big Impression in Germany

African American painter Romare Bearden's 1941 work "After the church". Born in 1911, Mr. Bearden moved from North Carolina to New York as a child during the Great Migration.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany is a big beneficiary of the efforts of the Terra Foundation, a privately-operated nonprofit which aims to share American art with the world.

  • Facts


    • U.S. businessman and art collector Daniel J. Terra, was a former dishwasher who made his fortune in printing inks and the chemicals industry. He founded the Terra Foundation for American Art in 1978.
    • In Germany, the foundation has recently supported exhibitions in Essen and Munich as well as the current “Carl André: Sculpture as Place” at the prestigious Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.
    • Its overall worth amounts to some $500 million. In the last 15 years, the foundation awarded more than $61 million for exhibitions and scholarly programs in more than 30 countries.
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U.S. inventor and business magnate Daniel J. Terra once spent his summers in a house next to Claude Monet’s estate in Giverny, France. During the 1980s, Mr. Terra purchased the home along with other estates and buildings in the area of northern France, famous for inspiring many of the Impressionist’s landscape paintings. Mr. Terra, whose parents were Italian immigrants in Philadelphia, loved the French Impressionists. But he was also fond of the work of contemporary American artists, which he discovered upon marrying painter Adeline Evans Richards in 1937. That’s when he first started collecting American works.

Mr. Terra’s story is that of the dishwasher who became a millionaire, eventually turning into a serious patron of the arts. It all started while apprenticing for his father, a lithographer, while studying chemistry.

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