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Works of art have been donated to Lake Forest College since the 1950’s. In 1970, Hugo Sonnenschein ’44 generously gave a gift of 185 European drawings dating from the 16th-19th centuries. This gift, along with the renovation of the Durand Art Institute in 1981, inspired the opening of a formal art gallery on campus.
Today the Lake Forest College Permanent Art Collection numbers over 1200 works of art and it has several strengths. One is that it is eclectic in scope and as a result, it serves several purposes: to visually enhance administrative and classroom buildings and more importantly, to be used by art and art history students as a pedagogical tool.
Photographic portfolios by such luminaries as Garry Winogrand, Robert Doisneau, Elliott Erwitt and Manuel Bravo are particularly valuable holdings. Other works of art on paper such as prints and the drawings mentioned above provide a rich resource for students studying various printmaking methods, mark making techniques, support materials, and artistic manipulation of the visual elements. Three-dimensional objects such as Asian ceramics, African sculptural works, and Pre-Columbian artifacts serve to teach students about artistic and cultural traditions far removed from our own. Stewardship of the collection is a primary responsibility under the auspices of the Sonnenschein Gallery and its staff.