Edwin Binney 3rd
Edwin Binney 3rd (1925-1986) began collecting at the age of five. His first collection consisted of transfers from trolleys in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. An heir to the Crayola fortune, he went to Harvard College, and stayed for a Ph.D. in Romance Languages. He amassed a large collection of ballet prints and theater books, which he later gave to Harvard.
Persian miniatures were his first foray into collecting Asian art. He moved on to Ottoman art, and then to South Asian paintings, as market prices outpaced his means. He intended his collection of South Asian painting to be encyclopedic, with two works from every court during every period of interest. The 1,453 paintings he left to the San Diego Museum of Art come admirably close to achieving that goal.
Other scholars and collectors are only now catching up with Binney’s wide-ranging interests and broad-minded taste for the quirky as well as the classic.
Ed Binney was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Museum and maintained an office (affectionately known as “Binney’s Basement Baghdad”) in the Museum’s library, where he carried out research on the paintings. He left the collection to the Museum as a bequest, and with settlement of his will in 1990, the works became part of the permanent collection of the San Diego Museum of Art.