Aberdeen-born artist wills six-figure legacy gift to Gray’s School of Art

Wednesday 07 September 2022

Gray’s School of Art alumnus and Aberdeen-born Artist Daniel Stephen has willed a generous six-figure legacy gift that will benefit emerging painting talent from Robert Gordon University (RGU) for years to come.

Daniel Stephen was a celebrated painter whose work was welcomed and purchased nationally and internationally, including at Norwich Gallery for his wartime depictions; at Perth Royal Infirmary where he gifted a large abstract of a French beach scene; and his Regions of the Psyche work was even purchased by a former president of the Jung Institute in Zurich.

Daniel, who retired at 89, also produced architectural models and invented a new art form that produced continuous moving images as if it were a kaleidoscope in perpetual motion. He passed away at the age of 92 in Perth.

“The legacy gift from Daniel John Stephen’s Liferent Trust is a truly wonderful gift to our School, and to our Painting students in particular,” said Libby Curtis, Dean of Gray’s School of Art at RGU. “An alumnus of our School, he was an intellectual with firm views on art, philosophy, politics, and world affairs. It is very clear that he had a strong sense of self-belief, commitment to his practice, and connection to Aberdeen and to Gray’s.

“We are so grateful that this gift will enable us to financially support our emerging talent, to develop the confidence born out of opportunities for overseas study trips, and exhibition curation, and to develop new bodies of work. In so doing our students and staff will keep his legacy alive in the School for many years to come.”

Through his generosity, Daniel Stephen will be remembered as part of RGU’s long history of philanthropic alumni and supporters that includes Robert Gordon, Alexander Gray, and Thomas Scott Sutherland, who RGU owes its very estate to.

RGU Foundation Development Manager Sarah Dingwall said: “Alumni and friends have continued to remember RGU in their wills, and this generous foresight makes a difference to RGU and allows the University to offer the best possible education for our students.

“I know that Daniel hoped his artistic legacy would be enjoyed by the public. With his legacy gift, he gives that same hope and opportunity to many students who will in turn share their works for others to enjoy and be inspired by in future.”

Donella Beaton, Vice Principal for Economic Development said: “We are honoured and grateful that Daniel Stephen chose to give back to the University in this way. 

Legacy gifts play such an important role in supporting our students and the wider RGU community.  Gifts-in-wills allow the University to provide for the future and to build on the generous foresight of that first bequest made by Robert Gordon in 1750.”

The RGU Foundation exists to inspire philanthropic support for the strategic priorities of Robert Gordon University. Donations have an immediate and direct impact on the lives of current and future generations of RGU students.

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