Dishman Art Museum celebrates 20th anniversary of renowned Eisenstadt Collection
Ruth Eisenstadt bequeathed the collection to the Department of Art in 1991. The Dishman Foundation then provided funds for a new wing to house The Heinz and Ruth Eisenstadt Collection, which opened to the public in 1992.
"The Eisenstadt Collection is the product of one couple's passionate, lifelong dedication to collecting,” said Jessica Dandona, director of the Dishman, and assistant professor of art history. “The works that Heinz and Ruth Eisenstadt donated to Lamar are exceptional, and we at the Dishman are very proud to be able to offer visitors a glimpse of the kind of art that people cherished in earlier centuries.”
The collection consists of 147 paintings by European and American artists ranging from the 17th through the 20th century; 200 19th- and 20th-century porcelains from Sevres, France, and Meissen and Dresden, Germany; objets d’art; bronze sculptures and one marble 19th-century figurative piece; a 15-piece dining room suite and eight curio cabinets; and four modern Oriental-style carpets.
“From landscape paintings of the vast American wilderness to touching scenes of a mother and child, the range of subjects and styles is broad,” said Dandona. “The collection also includes fine furniture once displayed in the Eisenstadts' home and curious objects such as 19th-century opera glasses. Our tour of the Eisenstadt will introduce visitors to the history of the collection and highlight some of the most interesting objects.”
Throughout their adult lives, Dr. and Mrs. Eisenstadt were avid collectors, sharing their love of art with family and friends. In 1973, Heinz was one of the founders of Lamar's "Friends of the Arts" and served as its first president. Through this relationship, it became apparent to the couple that Lamar University was the ideal location for their legacy.
Heinz Eisenstadt was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1905 and earned a degree in medicine from the University of Berlin in 1930. In 1936, he met Ruth Haase, whom he married that year. Of Jewish descent, the couple escaped Nazi Germany in 1937, leaving their homeland forever. In Germany, they had already begun collecting art and managed to take some of their collection with them when they moved to Temple, Texas. They later settled in Port Arthur, which would be their home for 40 years. Soon after, Dr. Eisenstadt opened a clinic, practicing internal medicine with administrative help from Ruth.
Dishman student intern Alison Heidbreder, a senior photography major from Houston, will lead the tours of the collection. Tours can be requested for other times or for large groups by appointment.
“We hope that visitors will enjoy this amazing opportunity to see art of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries," said Dandona.
The Dishman Art Museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is located at 1030 E. Lavaca, Beaumont, Texas. Free museum-dedicated parking is available in front of the Dishman during museum hours. Call (409) 880-8959 for more information or visit lamar.edu/dishman.