Art Museum Receives Largest Gift In Its History

May 16, 2017

The Cincinnati Art Museum is establishing an Asian art endowment thanks to what it says is its largest monetary gift in museum history.

The $11.75 million gift from the estate of Alice and Carl Bimel will create the Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art. The endowment will help the museum expand collections from South Asia, Greater Iran and Afghanistan.

The Bimels have donated more than $14 million overall, along with contributing items to the museum's collections.

A Royal Couple and Women of the Court Play Holi, circa 1760, Mughal period, Mughal/India, opaque watercolor, gold and silver on paper, Cincinnati Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bimel, Jr., 1986.1174
Credit Provided / Cincinnati Art Museum

"The Bimels gave countless volunteer hours, support and collections while they were with us. Now they add their vision to the future," says museum director Cameron Kitchin in a statement.

Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities Ainsley Cameron adds, "The opportunity to build an ambitious collection in a public museum today is rare. Alice and Carl Bimel have made that possible for Cincinnati. With this endowment, we can create an exceptional collection, one that represents the vibrancy and vitality prevalent in the arts of the region, from both the historic period and the contemporary."

The Art Museum says:

Alice and her husband, Carl, were longtime supporters of the museum who, with their passing, left a legacy of philanthropy. Alice died in 2008 and Carl in 2013.

Alice was a Cincinnati Art Museum volunteer for more than 40 years, and was a member of the first docent class in 1960. In 1972, she was the first woman named to the museum’s board of trustees. She was one of the principal volunteers assisting with the museum’s fundraising efforts before the Development department was established in the fall of 1981.

The Bimels traveled extensively throughout Asia. They collected miniature paintings and other South Asian works of art which are now in the Cincinnati Art Museum's permanent collection, and also provided support for the purchase of acquisitions in other regions represented in the Art Museum’s Asian collections.