Celebrating Modern Art

USA TODAY, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Celebrating Modern Art


Knowledgeable and passionate about contemporary and modern art, Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson have assembled one of the world's greatest private collections.

HARRY W. ANDERSON and Mary Margaret Ransford met at Hobart College, Geneva, N.Y., in the late 1940s and were married in 1950. While still a senior at the school, he founded the Saga Corporation along with two of his classmates. The company began as a food service provider to colleges and universities (with Hobart as its first client) and later expanded into such markets as health care and business.

In the early 1960s, the Andersons relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and established a headquarters operation for Saga in Menlo Park. In 1978, after serving as co-CEO for 30 years, he retired from active management of the company, which was subsequently purchased by the Marriott Corporation.

During 1964, a visit to Europe transformed the couple's budding interest in art collecting into a lifelong passion. By 1969, after brief periods of acquiring Impressionist, European Modernist, German Expressionist, and early American Modernist works, the Andersons decided to concentrate on postwar American art, although they retained sculpture and works on paper from the early periods. Today, their main collecting interest lies in the areas of Abstract Expressionism, California art, and contemporary art.

Over the years, items from the Anderson Collection were installed throughout Saga's Menlo Park headquarters, where it remains on view through a special arrangement with the current owners. …

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