LOS ANGELES -- UCLA announced Friday it has agreed to take over the management of the art museum housing the $400 million art collection assembled by the late Armand Hammer, who was chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Final details of the agreement, which provide for funding from a variety of sources to operate the museum, should be completed by early next year. UCLA said the agreement could last for 99 years.
'I think this is something that would have pleased my grandfather,' said Michael Armand Hammer, grandson of Armand Hammer and chairman of the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, located next to Occidental's headquarters.
'While a number of matters need to be worked out, we are delighted by the possibility of this proposed alliance between the museum and a prestigious university such as UCLA and look forward to enhanced use of the museum for both public exhibition and academic purposes,' Hammer said.
The museum's art collection includes the Codex Hammer -- a collection of writing and drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci -- and works by Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Goya, Monet and Reubens.
The museum, which opened in 1990 at a cost of about $90 million, was the focus of disgruntlement among Occidental shareholders, particularly since the oil and chemical giant's financing of the construction went far beyond the original $50 million budget.
Shareholders filed suits claiming that the museum was a waste of corporate funds, while Occidental argued that it would generate good will for the company.
In August 1990, four months before Armand Hammer died, several shareholder suits challenging the use of Occidental funds for the museum were settled. The settlement limited Occidental expenditures to $60 million and placed a cap on the amount of money the company -- about $8 million annually -- could donate to Hammer-related charities, such as the museum.
UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young said Friday UCLA plans to operate the museum for several years without a new commitment of university funds while a philanthropy program is developed. The University of California Board of Regents approved the agreement Friday at its meeting in San Francisco.
'It has been the long-term goal of UCLA to build the finest arts program of any major research university in the country,' Young said. 'I think we are well on our way with this proposed agreement with the Hammer Museum.'
UCLA officials said the change in management will enable the museum to offer more activities than it has previously. Officials said they will begin introducing a series of programs including exhibitions, lectures, music and dance performances, film screenings and arts symposia starting in September 1993.
UCLA plans to move its Wight Art Gallery and Grunwald Center into the Hammer Museum to free up space needed for arts facilities on campus.
Occidental does not currently directly contribute funds to the operation of the museum. That money comes largely from a $24 million endowment fund.
UCLA estimated that the annual operating costs of the museum in 1995 would be $3.9 million. It forecasted 1995 revenues of $2.5 million from the endowment; $898,000 in university support through funds already committed for existing programs; revenues of $215,000 from admissions and gift-shop purchases; and $350,000 from grants and outside support.
Hammer's collection was originally slated to be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until Hammer reneged on the agreement in 1988. The deal fell through over a variety of conditions imposed by Hammer, including his demand of removal of names of donors engraved in walls in areas that would have housed his collection.