Dolly Bright Silliman, who with her late husband, David E. Bright, helped launch the
Her death was confirmed by family friend Tony Peraino.
In 1967, two years after her husband died, Silliman donated 23 paintings by modern European and American masters. The largest single gift to the museum in the two years it had been open, the works formed the core of the museum's collection of 20th-century art.
Among the most important pieces was a rare Blue Period Picasso, "Portrait of Sebastia Juñer Vidal," painted in 1903. Other artists represented in the gift included Fernand Leger, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse,
"They bought very intelligently," Stephanie Barron, LACMA's senior curator of modern art, said of the Brights. "It was a tremendously important contribution … which in one fell swoop changed the perception of modern art for the public in Los Angeles."
Silliman also donated 11 key works to the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden at UCLA in 1967, including David Smith's "Cubi XX" and Henry Moore's "Two-Piece Reclining Figure No. 3."
The daughter of a judge, Dolly Newmire was born in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 1914. She was a dancer who had appeared in a few
Bright, who built his fortune during World II making radio and other electronic components, founded an award for emerging artists at the Venice Biennale in the 1950s. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1965 at age 57. Silliman continued to offer the prize through the late 1960s.
In 1985, she married Paul Silliman, a former actor and theater manager, who survives her along with a granddaughter, Christi Evans Lambou.
—Los Angeles Times staff writer