Four original paintings by renowned abstract expressionist Vicci Sperry have been donated to UCLA Extension. The paintings, gifted by the artist’s granddaughter Liza Braude, are on display at the university’s Gayley Center building in Westwood.

Sperry’s art was featured on three UCLA Extension course catalog covers in the late 1970s.

“This is such a special gift for us,” said Eric Bullard, dean of continuing education and UCLA Extension. “Vicci Sperry’s love for learning, the use of her book in our courses, and her art on our catalog make her part of the UCLA community. We are honored to display her work in our halls.”

A reception on March 3 will celebrate the gift. Ann Braude, Sperry’s granddaughter and director of the women’s studies program at the Harvard Divinity School, will deliver a presentation entitled “Vicci Sperry: Artist and Educator.” Other speakers include UCLA Extension Dean Eric Bullard; Liza Braude; Victoria Steele, curator of the UCLA campus public art collections; and Scott Hutchinson, program director of visual arts at UCLA Extension.

“Our grandmother found joy in creating and teaching art and her studio was just a few miles from UCLA,” said Liza Braude. “It is fitting that her work is on display at UCLA, a place where people come to learn and create.”

Sperry moved to New York City to become part of the emerging New York school of abstract expressionism after holding solo art exhibit there in 1948. She spent two and a half years studying with Hans Hoffman, the “dean” of abstract expressionism. Relocating to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, she taught at her studio in Brentwood. In 1969 she published her book, “The Art Experience,” which was used in UCLA Extension courses. She passed away in 1995.

Liza Braude originally approached Steele about the gift, who reached out to Hutchinson at UCLA Extension. Together they spent time with Sperry’s family and learned more about the artist’s commitment to learning, teaching, and supporting fellow artists.

“This is the right place for this work because UCLA Extension gives an opportunity to everybody, not just those admitted to a top art school,” said Hutchinson. “We are open door for all, and I think her approach was open door, as well.”

Beyond that, the gift is making significant works of art accessible to UCLA Extension students. In the newly published book, “The Unforgettables,” David Lubin, art historian and professor at Wake Forest University, calls Sperry’s work “ripe for discovery.” In the book, Lubin places her on a long list of other artists whose work deserves rediscovery, reassessment, and display. A copy of “The Unforgettables” will be given to attendees at the March 3 reception.

The paintings are available for public viewing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the UCLA Extension Gayley Center, located at 1145 Gayley Ave. in Westwood.

To learn more about Vicci Sperry, visit