YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Hammer's Art

September 03, 1989

I write this letter as counsel to the Board of Directors of Occidental Petroleum Corp. in response to "Occidental, Not Hammer's Foundation, Purchased Art" (Part I, Aug. 18).

You imply that Dr. (Armand) Hammer somehow unjustly benefits from his own philanthropy. This is wrong. Occidental and Dr. Hammer have a long-established history of promoting artistic and cultural endeavors.

For years, Dr. Hammer and the Armand Hammer Foundation have loaned priceless masterpieces the world over, generating enormous good will to Occidental's benefit. Last year, Occidental decided that this good will could be perpetuated by establishing and funding an art museum and cultural center adjoining Occidental's headquarters in Westwood Village. Accordingly, an independent special committee of Occidental's board of directors unanimously voted to make a one-time charitable contribution for this purpose. The building housing the museum will be named the "Occidental Petroleum Cultural Center Building." The museum will be named for Occidental's chief executive officer and founder, Dr. Armand Hammer, who has contractually agreed to transfer to the museum all his art works, appraised at over $400 million.

Some have incorrectly asserted that Dr. Hammer did not pay for the art that he and the Armand Hammer Foundation will donate to the museum.

In the past 10 years, Dr. Hammer has donated over $45 million of his own funds to the Armand Hammer Foundation. All but the Leonardo da Vinci Codex Hammer and 10 other works of art contained in the art collections to be donated to the museum have been fully paid for by Dr. Hammer--either directly or by funds contributed by him to the Armand Hammer Foundation. Occidental has donated a total of $12 million to the Armand Hammer Foundation. Of that sum, approximately $5 million was used for the purchase of the Codex Hammer and $500,000 was used for the purchase of the 10 other paintings. Thus, virtually all of the art to be donated to the museum has been paid for by Dr. Hammer personally.

Likewise, Dr. Hammer personally contributed $1 million in cash and paintings then worth an additional $1 million (which today are worth more than 20 times what they cost) to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which resulted in the naming of a building in his honor. Occidental's contribution of $2 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the construction of a bridge and escalator has been recognized by a suitable plaque.


Dilworth, Paxson,

Kalish & Kauffman


Los Angeles Times Articles