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Charles Bierer Wrightsman, Art Collector

May 29, 1986|From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — Charles Bierer Wrightsman, a retired oil executive turned philanthropist whose homes contained some of the important private art collections in the world, has died at the age of 90.

Wrightsman, a benefactor and trustee of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art for three decades, died Tuesday at his Manhattan home. He also maintained homes in London and Palm Beach, Fla., where he often was host to President John F. Kennedy.

Among the donations made to the museum in his name and that of his wife, the former Jayne Larkin, were the eight Wrightsman Rooms, furnished and decorated in the style of 18th-Century France, and three galleries for exhibiting work from the same period.

He also gave the museum works by El Greco, Vermeer, Rubens, Georges de La Tour, Jacques-Louis David and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

In 1979, hailing the Wrightsmans' gift of an El Greco and a De La Tour, Philippe de Montabello, the museum's director, said, "Our debt to the Wrightsmans is, once again, beyond measure."

The Wrightsmans' collection was described by the New York Times in 1961 as "one of the most important private collections in the world."

Wrightsman was president of the Standard Oil Co. of Kansas from 1932 to 1953 and owned a controlling interest in the company for much of that time.

He was born in Pawnee, Okla., on June 13, 1895, the son of Charles J. Wrightsman, a wealthy oilman, and the former Edna Lawing.

He became a trustee of the Met in 1956 and was named trustee emeritus in 1975, a position he held until his death.

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