Gifts of Artwork--David Willis '52
When asked if he ever wanted to be an artist, David Willis '52 responded with a hearty laugh, saying, "When I was a teenager, I knew I didn't have the talent or skill to be really good. But I found an alternative. Collecting art."
Indeed, David Willis has spent a lifetime assembling an impressive variety of paintings, etchings, pencil drawings, and photographs which flood his apartment in New York City. He noted, "I have piles of frames on the floor, the walls are full, and I have yet to find a viable way to hang art from the ceilings."
His long-time interest began about the same time David attended Haverford College. While he can't recall why, he remembers choosing to write a term paper on Henri Matisse. His intensive research, including trips to the renowned Barnes Foundation in nearby Merion, on the French artist's life and works confirmed his commitment to art.
A sociology major, David decided early on to specialize in gerontology. His professional life included stints at the Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, an exciting tour with the United Nations in India, and faculty appointments at Dartmouth Medical School and New York University.
Though "retired," he still does guest teaching and mentoring at Columbia University. And he enjoys volunteering for the Jewish Guild for the Blind which involves visiting shut-ins, reading to them (although usually not the Moby Dick he imagined when he took on this assignment!), and performing other services such as writing the checks to pay their bills.
Steve Kavanaugh of the College's Planned Giving staff contacted David about a deferred gift. Following numerous conversations, David decided to donate his valuable art collection to Haverford to be used "as the College sees fit." Artists represented in the collection include Alexandre Benois, Esther Bubley, Aubrey Beardsley, Walker Evans, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and, of course, Henri Matisse. This notable gift of some 50 items meshes nicely with the College's expanded program to enhance the fine arts at Haverford, and it will be used in a variety of ways to benefit new generations of students.
David recalls with gratitude his years at Haverford and with humor the "beat up station wagon" that transported him to courses at Bryn Mawr College. He hopes the donation of his art collection will inspire other alumni to think creatively about the kinds of gifts they can make to sustain and enrich the College.
Donating Gifts of Art to Haverford College
When gifting artwork, the donor is required by the IRS to obtain an "independent" appraisal if the gift value is more that $5,000.00. An income tax charitable deduction will not be allowed unless the donor complies with specific appraisal requirements. Donors must file IRS Form 8283 and complete section B—Appraisal Summary. The donor gives Haverford a copy of the appraisal prior to the gift or at the time the donor presents a copy of Form 8283 for the College's signature. This appraisal can be done as early as 60 days prior to the gift date or up to the due date of the donor's tax return on which he/she claims the tax deduction. If the appraised value of the art is over $20,000, then the donor is required to attach photographs of the artwork with his/her tax return.
The College requests that a donor notify the Gift Planning Office prior to considering a gift. A representative from the College will make arrangements to see the artwork to determine if it fits within the College's collection or can be used for teaching purposes. Works that do not fit either category may be considered for the College's reserve collection. When the gift is ready to be made, the donor completes the Deed of Gift form (click here) which instructs the College on the shipping arrangements and the anticipated date of gift.