Just before our phone interview, Cincinnati-raised collector Douglas S. Cramer — who will be given the Cincinnati Art Museum’s second annual Cincinnati Art Award at a Thursday gala — was talking with Wonder Woman.
Actually, it was actress Lynda Carter, who starred in Wonder Woman, the late-1970s hit TV series that Cramer produced. She was inviting Cramer, who lives in Connecticut, to attend her cabaret performance in New York.
“She was saying she couldn’t believe that Jazz at Lincoln Center, where she’s performing, had all this Wonder Woman memorabilia,” Cramer says, adding that Carter has always loved to sing.
Cramer’s life encompasses both Wonder Woman and Warhol, a pretty impressive span.
He has also known and collected the work of key contemporary artists like Jim Dine and Richard Prince. Plus, in addition to Wonder Woman, he has been involved with such hit TV series as Peyton Place, Dynasty, Hotel and The Love Boat. The latter three were with his business partner in the 1980s, Aaron Spelling.
Cramer is considered one of the world’s great collectors of contemporary art and has donated to many major museums, including CAM, which will display his recent gifts along with the Warhol portraits in a show on view through Aug. 21. (Cramer has also loaned the museum paintings over the years.) When Cramer auctioned 30 of his artworks off in 2001, part of a move from California to the East Coast, the $20 million his work netted made worldwide headlines. Some individual pieces (by artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Serra) sold for over $2 million. A Jasper Johns painting garnered over $3 million.
Gifts and Warhol Portraits of Douglas S. Cramer is on display through Aug. 21. Go here to read Steven Rosen's full interview.