Robert and Lisa Sainsbury began building their art collection in the 1930s. They rapidly became two of the UK’s leading patrons of the arts and champions of new artists. Robert was knighted for service to the arts in 1967, but he and Lisa felt they could do more to share their enjoyment of art and their particular passions. Therefore, in 1973 they gifted the University of East Anglia (UEA) their collection of several hundred paintings, drawings and sculptures - some up to 5,000 years old - from around the world.
The University required a new building to house the collection, and the Sainsburys wanted this to be as inspiring as the works within it. They commissioned the-then relatively unknown Norman Foster to design the building, and Gatsby helped fund the construction of the revolutionary Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.
The Centre, with its striking open-plan galleries, opened in 1978, and Gatsby has supported its activities - including exhibitions, artist residencies, conservation works and programmes with local schools - since.
Over time, the Centre’s collection has almost tripled in size. As such, Gatsby has helped fund the building of a partially-underground Crescent Wing, plus an extension and major refurbishment which were completed in 2006.