The James Sachs Plaut Society was formed to honor ICA friends who have made a planned gift to the museum. In gratitude for their thoughtful planning and generosity, James Sachs Plaut Society members receive a wide range of benefits.

If you have already made a provision for the ICA in your estate plans, please contact the Development Department at or 617-478-3183, or click on the James Sachs Plaut Society Membership Enrollment Form below.

Click here to view the James Sachs Plaut Society Membership Enrollment Form



The most rewarding benefit of membership in the James Sachs Plaut Society is the personal satisfaction of knowing that you, like James Sachs Plaut and many others, have made a lasting contribution to the contemporary art in America. Other membership benefits include:

  • Invitations each year to private receptions and gallery tours
  • Publication (subject to your approval) of your name in James Sachs Plaut Society listings
  • Annual James Sachs Plaut Society Recognition event
  • Seminars on timely estate planning issues

For more information about Planned Giving at the ICA click here, or contact Chris Josephson at 617-478-3183 or


Credited with “defining modern art for America” (The Boston Globe) James Sachs Plaut (1913 – 1996) was the first director of what is now the Institute of Contemporary Art. Leading the ICA for 18 years, he brought many firsts to Boston, exhibiting work by Frank Lloyd Wright, Oscar Kokoschka, and Edvard Munch, among others, never before seen in the city. Originally founded as the Boston Museum of Modern Art to reflect its ties to New York’s MoMA, the ICA eventually changes its name to describe more accurately Plaut’s primary mission—to create a laboratory for presenting contemporary art—which remains central to the museum’s work today.

Like many museum directors of his generation, Plaut studied with Paul Sachs, his uncle, at Harvard University, organizing exhibitions of work he believed to be the best of the new. In his six-decade career in the arts, Plaut taught art history at Harvard, served as a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, ran the Art Looting Investigations Unit during World War II, which sorted and returned the art stolen by the Nazis, and served as secretary general of the UNESCO-funded World Craft Council. With his wife, Mary, he co-founded Aid to Artisans, an organization dedicated to creating economic opportunities for craftspeople in developing countries around the world.

To honor his memory and continue his important work, the ICA launched the James Sachs Plaut Society. Your contribution will sustain Plaut’s vision of a place where innovation, excellence, and creativity not only thrive but nourish the cultural community in Boston and beyond. 

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston recommends that you discuss your gift plans with your own legal and financial advisers. Members of the ICA staff will be happy to work with you and your advisers on ensure that your gift meets your goals and the ICA’s needs.    


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