The Cincinnati Art Museum has announced an $11.75 million gift from the estate of Carl and Alice Bimel to establish an endowed fund in support of its South Asian arts collection.
The bequest, the largest monetary gift in CAM's history, will establish the Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art in support of the museum's collections of art from South Asia, Greater Iran, and Afghanistan. In addition to significant art objects, the Bimels donated more than $14 million to the museum.
Longtime collectors and travelers, the Bimels developed an interest in South Asian art and extended their interest to include the art of Iran and Afghanistan, along the way collecting miniature paintings and other works now in CAM's permanent collection and providing support for the purchase of acquisitions from other regions. In 2004, the museum dedicated its courtyard in honor of Alice Bimel, while several galleries were named in honor of the couple's daughters, Carlyn and Natalie. Alice Bimel was a CAM volunteer for more than forty years and a member of its first docent class in 1960. In 1972, she became the first woman named to the museum's board of trustees.
"It would be impossible to express in full our gratitude for what Carl and Alice Bimel have given to the public through their museum," said Cameron Kitchin, the Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director of the museum. "[Their] act of immense generosity will advance a key area of study that is immeasurably important and highly relevant in contemporary society. The Bimels gave countless volunteer hours, support and collections while they were with us. Now they add their vision to the future."