Boston Native’s Estate Leaves Largest Ever Gift to Art Institute of Chicago

The late Dorothy Braude Edinburg left $35 million to the museum she long supported.

The Art Institute of Chicago, home of Edward Hopper’s legendary Nighthawks and Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic, has received the largest gift in its 137-year history from a Boston native.

The late art collector Dorothy Braude Edinburg’s estate has given the museum $35 million. Edinburg, who died peacefully last January in her Brookline home at age 94, collected prints, drawings, and Chinese ceramics, and donated more than 1,500 pieces to the Art Institute of Chicago between 1991 and 2014, reports Crain’s.

Edinburg attended the Walnut Hill School in Natick and later Wellesley College, where she studied art history and French and began her Chinese art collection. She married Joseph M. Edinburg, an executive at Boston-based Chandler & Farquhar, a machinists’ supplies dealer.

In 2013, Edinburg donated nearly 1,000 works at one time, including 800 European prints and drawings from Old Master to modern and 150 works from China, Korea, and Japan, including stonewares, porcelains, and printed books. “I have never thought of my collection as a personal endeavor,” she said at the time. “Rather, I have always believed that it should ultimately enter a major museum and serve a broad public.”

“What makes this gift special is that it’s earmarked for acquisitions and specifically in the area of prints and drawings from the Renaissance to 1960 and Asian art with an emphasis on ceramics. It’s a legacy. It allows us to grow her collection in an organic and dynamic way into the future,” Art Institute’s director and president Douglas Druick told Crain’s this week.

Edinburg’s gift could grow to as much as $38 million before the estate is settled.