RAYMOND D. NASHER
Honorary Life Member - 1998
Raymond D. Nasher, prominent real estate developer and banker, was Chairman of The Nasher Foundation and Chairman of Comerica Bank-Texas. He was also a renowned world leader in the arts. He was one of this country’s leading collectors of modern and contemporary sculpture. He also was one of the first real estate developers in the United States to place art, primarily sculpture, in commercial retail complexes. He did this believing that art nurtures intellectual and aesthetic curiosity and enhances the overall experience of every environment.
Mr. Nasher and his wife, Patsy, began collecting art early fifty years ago. Over time the collection evolved into one of the most extensive and important collections of modern sculpture in private hands. In 1965, when Mr. Nasher opened his first retail shopping center in Dallas, Northpark Center, he made a commitment to installing art throughout the Center. To do this, he designed a structure inside and out that met the needs of retailers and had the space necessary to display large sculptures by artists such as Jonathan Borofsky, Mark di Suvero, Henry Moore, Beverly Pepper, and George Segal. The design also included special interior water features, open spaces, as well as exterior landscape, all of which complement the art.
NorthPark Center and the nearby NorthPark National Bank (now Comerica Bank) – another project of The Nasher Company – both won architectural and design awards, and have become models for other developers throughout the world. Recently expanded, making it the biggest mall in the Dallas area, NorthPark Center generates annual sales volumes that make it one of the top shopping centers in the country.
Mr. Nasher played a leading role in the development and growth of many of the major arts organizations in Dallas. He contributed to increased business support of the arts in Dallas by establishing the Dallas Business Committee for the Arts. He was a member of the national Business Committee for the Arts, and a board member of the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Symphony, the Dallas Theater Center, Ballet Dallas, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. He was appointed to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He served on the Texas Commission on the Arts and was the Ambassador of Cultural Affairs for the City of Dallas. The Nasher Company has received Business in the Arts Awards in recognition of its outstanding commitment to business arts alliances.
In 2003, Mr. Nasher opened the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, which houses pieces from his collection of more than 300 works. Personally financed by Mr. Nasher, the highly acclaimed Center, occupying a 2.5 acre site in Dallas’s downtown Arts District, consists of a 55,000 square-foot building designed by architect Renzo Piano and a 1.5 acre garden designed by landscape architect Peter Walker.
Mr. Nasher also established a Sculpture Garden in his name at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, which presents a rotating selection of sculptures from the Nasher collection. In addition, he contributed $7.5 million to the development of the Nasher Museum of Art, which opened in October of 2005 at Duke University, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1943. The Nasher Foundation contributed an additional $2.5 million to the Nasher Museum at Duke, which exhibits a large selection of modern and contemporary from the Nasher collection.
Mr. Nasher was a visionary with a deep understanding of what constitutes human and nurturing communities, contributing his time and resources in civic and cultural affairs to improve the human environment.