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The Collectors

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The Arthur Secunda Museum collection and exhibitions were built around the extensive Secunda collection of C. Edward and Mary Ellen Wall, residents of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Their collection includes approximately 320 of Secunda’s 350 graphic works. Selected prints, and examples of paintings and collages that inspired creation of specific prints, are a major part of their collection. They are the focus of The Arthur Secunda Museum’s initial exhibition, Déjà vu: The Graphic Works of Arthur Secunda, 1948-2005. This exhibition corresponds with publication of the Catalogue Raisonné of Secunda’s Graphic Works, of which the Walls are co-sponsors.

Ed and Mary Ellen have known Arthur Secunda for more than 40 years and acquired their first two works by Secunda in 1971. Since then, they have added approximately 2,000 works to their collection. Of these, they have gifted more than 500 works to museums across the United States including the Norton Simon Museum, the Armand Hammer Museum, and the Huntington Library. They are working on conveying hundreds of additional works to The Arthur Secunda Museum.

Ed is not an art historian or museum curator, although he has done both. He presents this exhibition from the perspective that brought so much pleasure to the act of collecting – bringing together related works illustrating Secunda’s inventiveness and genius in creating them.

The descriptions and commentaries in this exhibition are Ed’s alone, unless otherwise indicated. He views contemporary art as a dialog between artwork and viewer, changing and maturing with time, lighting conditions, and mood. And like a conversation with an old friend, there are moments of discovery; in revelations of imagery and meaning now so apparent that one wonders how it could have been overlooked before. These interpretations derive from Ed’s dialog with Arthur’s work. Other viewers will have their own, and perhaps, very different conversations.

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