Nelson-Atkins mourns loss of Marion Bloch

The Nelson-Atkins Museum says it is joining the rest of Kansas City in mourning the death of Marion Bloch. The 83-year-old wife of Henry Bloch died after a long illness.

“I know that Mrs. Bloch was a vital presence at the Nelson-Atkins for many years,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of the museum, said in a press release today. “Henry was absolutely devoted to Marion and there is no stronger testament to true love. My deepest sympathies go to the entire Bloch family.”

Here’s more from the museum:
Marion Helzberg was born in 1930, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Southwest High School and the University of Missouri. During her junior year of college, Marion’s brother introduced her to his close friend, a budding entrepreneur named Henry Bloch. They married in 1951.

“Marion’s love made me whole,” said Bloch. “She was a remarkable woman; selfless and kind, beautiful and loving and strong.”

With Henry, Marion was at the forefront of many civic and philanthropic initiatives in Kansas City. Their personal legacy includes generous and steadfast support of the Nelson-Atkins.

Future generations will enjoy Marion and Henry’s collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, one of the finest private collections of its type in the world and a promised gift to the Nelson-Atkins. The museum’s Bloch Building, named in honor of the Blochs’ generous support, was ranked #1 by Time magazine on its list of the ten best architectural marvels in the world.

“Along with Henry, she shared great pride for her family and community, and derived great personal enjoyment from their private collection,” said Shirley Bush Helzberg, Chair of the Nelson-Atkins Board of Trustees and cousin of Marion. “We are deeply saddened.”

Marion and Henry had four children. In 2011, the couple formed the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, which is now one of the largest family foundations in the region.

Henry commissioned a portrait of Marion to be painted by legendary pop artist Andy Warhol, who created four print-like portraits. One of them resides at the Nelson-Atkins, and it will be joined by two other Warhol portraits in the Bloch Building as a tribute to Marion.

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