Phyllis Wattis, who gave more than $150 million to Northern California arts institutions, has died. She died yesterday at the age of 97. Wattis helped spur the construction of a building for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with a $5 million donation. When critics complained the collection wasn´t worthy of the building, Wattis purchased at auction works by Rene Magritte, Eva Hesse and Piet Mondrian. She also helped buy works by Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly and Brice Marden.
She gave $20 million to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which was used in the rebuilding of the De Young Museum, and buying works. Wattis also gave money to the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium and the San Francisco Opera.