It’s not clear why it took so long for this story about American art starring in the US embassy in London to appear in the New York Times but it’s clear from the number of times that Ellsworth Kelly pops up in the litany of American artists owned by two different ambassadors that Kelly is one of America’s more visible artist abroad:
“From the moment Louis got the appointment I thought about bringing American art to Winfield House,” said Ms. Susman, a petite woman with a Midwest twang. The couple, who are from Chicago, have been art lovers and collectors for decades. Until his appointment Mr. Susman served on the board of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Ms. Susman still sits on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art there. (From 1991 until 2009 she was also a representative for Sotheby’s.)
When they moved to London in 2009, much of their art came with them. There is a delicate red-and-black watercolor by Brice Marden; a 1997 dark blue curved canvas by Mr. Kelly (who provided them with detailed installation instructions for the move) and two abstract paintings by Ad Reinhardt. Bringing their own things made them feel at home, Ms. Susman said.
But with its 35 rooms Winfield House has a lot of space to fill. So even before she arrived Ms. Susman started talking to museums, dealers and collectors about loans. She also teamed up with the State Department’s Art in Embassies Program, which was created in the early 1960s to organize and facilitate loans to American outposts abroad, especially diplomatic residences. “We made a dream list of what we wanted,” Ms. Susman said. “We see this as a way of combining our passion for art with our new diplomatic role.” The previous ambassador, Robert H. Tuttle, and his wife, Maria, were also art collectors, and they too had contemporary art around Winfield House — works by de Kooning and Rothko and Mr. Kelly.
In London, U.S. Art Enjoys Diplomatic Showcase (New York Times)