London philanthropist and collector dies 94 years – ARTnews.com

John Sainsbury, the chairman of Sainsbury’s supermarket chain and a philanthropist whose patronage transformed London’s museums, died last weekend, Guardian reports.

Although Sainsbury’s was best known for his success in transforming the family business into the most profitable supermarket chain in the UK, his influence on art in the UK was almost unparalleled.

He and his wife, Anya Linden, a former ballet dancer, started the Linbury Trust together in 1963. Since its inception, the Trust has provided more than $ 200 million in funding for arts and social endeavors. Through this trust, Sainsbury donated $ 17 million to the British Museum in 2010. With additional donations from his late brother Simon, Africa Sainsbury Galleries was established. The galleries display artifacts and art from Africa and the African diaspora. The Linbury Trust has also provided funding to the Tate, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Musuem of London and others.

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Linden’s past on stage also inspired donations to the performing arts. The couple established the Linbury Prize, which awards new stage designers a cash prize and a commission to design a production for large performing arts companies. This sustained interest in performance was also translated into a magnificent gift of a new theater for the Royal Ballet, where Linden used to perform, and the Royal Opera House. Sainsbury’s was a trustee for both institutions, along with many other art centers.

Simon Robey, chairman of the board of the Royal Opera House, said in a statement: “John was truly one of the great figures in the modern history of the Royal Opera House. He was constant and generous without words in his love, commitment and support. through many decades. He somehow seemed indivisible from this place and all the wonderful things that are happening here. “

The largest project Sainsbury undertook was the establishment of the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London, which he undertook with his brothers. Before the Sainsbury brothers stepped in to fund the new wing in 1985, the National Gallery had been trying to turn a parking lot into exhibit space for two decades. In 1991, the new wing was completed and the Sainsbury brothers escorted the Queen to the opening ceremony. To help fund the construction of the wing, the Sainsbury brothers raised $ 35 million. The Robert Venturi-designed wing now houses the museum’s collection of European art made before 1500.

John and other members of the Sainsbury family ranked on ART news Top 200 Collectors List each year between 1990 and 2015. John’s uncle, Robert, who ran the business until he handed over the chairmanship to John, donated hundreds of works of art in his collection to the University of East Anglia and in the 1970s funded the construction of the Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts to house all the works.

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