Mary Shirley, Leading Art Collector, Has Died
by Jen Graves
on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 4:48 PM
I'm waiting to hear details from Seattle Art Museum, but it's been confirmed that Mary Shirley has died. She was one of the namesakes and backers of the Olympic Sculpture Park, and she and her husband Jon Shirley, formerly of Microsoft, lived in Medina in a home packed with their art collection, much of which they gave to Seattle Art Museum over the years.
I remember Mary as a salty talker and a smoker. This is a pretty cool picture of her looking period classy with their 1938 Alfa Romeo at a car show. She seemed sharp to me.
I'll report more as I get more information.
UPDATE from SAM. It sounds like it was unexpected, but I am not sure:
Mary Shirley was 73 and passed away last evening from a brief illness.
· They have three children and six grandchildren.
Their collection has been promised to SAM: · Jon and Mary Shirley’s collection features Constantin Brancusi’s Bird in Space (1926), an icon of modernism, and Alberto Giacometti’s The Dog (1951). The collection is notable for an emphasis on sculpture and studio glass. Other highlights include a special concentration of works by Chuck Close and Alexander Calder, as well as works by Yves Klein, Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock that will strengthen SAM’s collection of 1940s-1960s modern art.
· Remembrances in her honor can be made to the Seattle Art Museum or Washington Women in Need.
· "Mary was a brilliant force in the life of the Seattle Art Museum. Her passion for art, love of people, curiosity, compassion and humor enriched everyone who knew her. Certainly the dedicated and loving partnership with her husband, Jon, has privileged this entire community. The Olympic Sculpture Park is one eloquent example of the wide-ranging contributions of time, energy and resources that Mary and Jon have together given to SAM and the Northwest." - Charlie Wright, Seattle Art Museum Board Chair