It’s a good bet that 100 years from now Jon Landau will be known not for his association with Bruce Springsteen, but for his amazing art collection.
That might seem hard to believe, considering it was Landau who, after seeing Springsteen perform at the Harvard Square Theater in 1974, wrote in the Real Paper: “I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” (He went on to work for the Boss, co-producing most of the singer’s biggest-selling albums, beginning with 1975’s “Born to Run.”)
But in some circles, Landau is revered for his taste in art, not music. Over many years with money he made managing Springsteen, he and his wife, Barbara, have accumulated a trove of 19th-century French and English paintings, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and sculpture that is the envy of the most serious and committed collectors.
His impressive holdings are not something the 68-year-old Landau makes a habit of talking about. Last month, when The New York Times reported he was the buyer of a 15th-century gilded wooden putto — the transaction was worth an estimated $11 million — Landau refused to comment.
So it’s remarkable then that the Clark Art Institute has enticed Landau to sit down and chat about his collection. On Feb. 27, he’ll join noted New York art dealer Andrew Butterfield and former Clark curator Richard Rand for a conversation about his impressive stockpile of art, how collectors decide what to acquire, and how changes in the art market affect those decisions. (The talk is free and open to the public.)
To give you a sense of his standing in the art world, Landau and his wife often are included in ARTnews’s annual list of the top 200 art collectors in the world. Their collection includes works by Titian, Tintoretto, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Théodore Géricault, Eugène Delacroix, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and the couple owns one of the largest private collections of works by Gustave Courbet.
The Clark Art Institute, located in Williamstown in the Berkshires, opened in 1955 and is known for its collection of European and American paintings and sculpture, master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography.