The sculpture collection on campus was not built with an iron-focused philosophy in mind; it exists primarily because of the kindness of others and so reflects a broad range of interests and influences. two early pieces by Claire Falkenstein and Bernard Rosenthal were funded in the 1960s as part of construction costs for the campus gymnasium and the Visual Arts Center. The Art Alliance raised funds to purchase Lemonade by Jay Willis, Homage to David Smith by Michael Todd, and Nautilus by Rico Eastman. Wall Gazing Gallery and Redoubling Wallpath wre funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art in Public Places program. Asociated Students commissioned Solstice by alumnus Stephen Metzger and then donated the sculpture to the university. In'Direction, a collaboration between artists Jason Chakravarty and Derek Parker, was funded by the Emeriti of Cal State Fullerton. Donors or individual artists gifted the remaining sculptures to the university.
The collection grew significantly in the 1990s with gifts from the Newquist Collection. Richard and Louise Newquist began their noted contemporary art collection in 1970. Focused on reductive sculpture, the collection grew to over 90 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, including a dozen outdoor sculptures. In the 1990s, the Newquists donated four works to Cal State Fullerton. These were installed in locations throughout the campus. In 1995, shortly after Richard's death, Louise sold their home to Thomas W. Knaup. In fall 1998, Knaup donated six outdoor sculptures and three other works from the house to Cal State Fullerton. Made possible by the Knaup gift, a sculpture court was created in the Visual Arts Center that reflects the Newquists' dedicated efforts to collect and preserve contemporary art.
Common to virtually all the scupltors in the collection is a fresh grappling with formal and thematic ideas and a receptivity to the possiblities opened by new materials and processes. Two scupltures, Arise by Eric Goulder and Imploration by Stanislav Szukalski were specifically solicited through the help of Greg Escalante to reflect the art department's continuing commitment to the human form in art.
Through the years many individuals have contributed significantly to the expansion of the collection: John Olsen for the inclusion of sculpture funding in building projects; Dextra Frankel for securing National Endowment for the Arts support; Mike McGee for securing the Thomas Knaup gift, the Newquist gift, the Earl and Camilla McGrath gift, and the Archives Szukalski and Decker Studios gift.
Finally, the collection would not be a reality without the enthusiastic support of the Art Alliance. This organization has continually provided funds for special acquisitions and for the often-substantial costs related to the installation of most of the sculptures in the collection.
Jerry Samuelson (1933–2012)
Professor and Dean Emeritus, College of the Arts