Newspapers in Chicago — and the global art community — are giving prominent play to a major donation by Stefan Edlis and his wife, Gael Neeson, to the Art Institute of Chicago.
The pair agreed to donate 42 major works valued at $400 million — including paintings, sculptures and photographs by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein.
One expert called the works “some of the highlights of mid-20th-century art.”
What's the plastics connection? Edlis is the founder of injection molder Apollo Plastics Corp.
Edlis and his family came to the United States in 1941, fleeing Nazi persecution in Austria. He got a job as a toolmaker after World War II, and started Apollo in Chicago in 1965.
Plastics News' Steve Toloken visited Apollo Plastics for a profile of Edlis and his company in 1998. The story — "Art adorns molder's Apollo" — is memorable, and not just for the art connection.
Toloken was tipped off to the company because Edlis was showing up as a major contributor to political causes, including $10,000 to then-President Clinton's legal defense fund and $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee.
Edlis wasn't shy about his political leanings. He was outspoken in his defense of Clinton. He told Toloken a story about how he had donated $1,000 to Dick Gephardt, but stipulated it came with a condition.