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The Collection of Ann F. Bengtson: Patron of the Arts

December 22, 2021 - March 6, 2022

That day has come.

The Cape Cod Museum of Art docents and Benton Jones, Director of Art have brought to light the many paintings, drawings and sculptures that are in the permanent collection, thankfully through the generosity and foresight of Ann Bengtson (June 23, 1922 - January 10, 2012).

Retiring from their life in Washington D.C., Ann and her husband Nils moved to East Falmouth, MA in the early 1980’s. New to Cape Cod and interested in familiarizing herself with her surroundings, she attended numerous estate sales. At the William Littlefield estate sale in Falmouth, Ann bought several of his paintings and drawings. A collection started. As it grew, Ann wanted to get to know the artists behind the paintings and sculptures. She attended art openings at the Falmouth Art Center to meet the artists, and visited them in their studios, becoming a significant patron of the arts.

At one point her house was floor to ceiling with paintings, sculptures and drawings—even her garage was hung with art. She started donating the works to museums and hospitals. At the Falmouth Hospital, Ann hung solo and group shows. The Cape Cod Hospital received numerous works to hang in corridors and waiting rooms. The William Littlefield paintings became her first gift to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in 1986. During visits to her home, she allowed me the privilege of selecting prominent and innovative works that now represent some of the most prized in the permanent collection. Over 65 works of art by 17 artists were gifted to the museum over a span of 21 years.

Ann’s joy was in giving artists support and recognition. The Cape Cod Museum of Art is the fortunate recipient of her efforts. After her husband’s passing, she left the Cape to be closer to her daughter. In life she did not seek recognition for her contributions. It is with great pleasure to now celebrate her legacy and recognize the important role that the Ann F. Bengston Collection will have in telling the story of the many celebrated Cape Cod artists she collected and offered support.

- Suzanne M. Packer, 2022

Image: Noesis by William H. Littlefield


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