Red Acrobat by George Segal


George Segal, red acrobat, 1997. collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University,  gift of the George and Helen Segal Foundation, Inc. photography by Nick Romanenko

The Zimmerli Art Museum recently received a gift of 17 works of art by George Segal, making the museum’s collection of the artist’s work one of the largest in the world, according to Donna Gustafson, the museum’s curator of American art. Segal GSNB’63, a native of South Brunswick, New Jersey, who died in 2000, worked in a variety of media, but he was especially known for his life-size plaster sculptures of everyday men and women.  

The new works, donated by the George and Helen Segal Foundation, include several important figural sculptures, including this 1997 plaster-and-rope piece, Red Acrobat. The gift also includes sculptural still lifes, paintings, and pastel drawings, among them a self-portrait and a portrait of Segal’s wife, Helen. “This gift allows us to represent Segal in all his complexity,” says Gustafson GSNB’84,’10.

The gift comes with a $100,000 endowment to help conserve the works and mount a large-scale exhibition of Segal’s art. Segal, who was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1987, “came out of Rutgers and maintained a close connection with the university,” Gustafson adds. “To us, he feels like a local hero.”