In Memoriam Robert G. Wilmers

Robert G. Wilmers, a FRAME philanthropic director, passed away on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at his home in Manhattan at the age of 83. Better known within the FRAME network as Bob Wilmers, he joined the association's board of directors with his wife Élisabeth due to their shared passion for the arts and their mutual interest in French and American culture. Bob Wilmers was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of M & T Bank Corporation since 1983, headquartered in Buffalo, New York. Under his leadership, the institution became one of the largest holding companies in the United States.  Bob and Élisabeth’s shared taste for modern and contemporary art led Bob to become involved with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, an institution that recently become a FRAME member, and where he was an honorary member of the board of directors.

Francophile and francophone, Bob Wilmers invested in several scientific and cultural organizations to strengthen cooperation across the Atlantic: the FI/AF (French Institute Alliance Française), where he was the President of the Board; the PUF (Partner University Fund), which supports partnerships between French and American research institutions; and of course FRAME. Bob and Élisabeth provided generous support for the FRAME exhibition, Georgia O'Keeffe and her fellow photographers, which was the first French retrospective devoted to this icon of American modernism (Grenoble Museum, November 7, 2015 - February 7 2016).

FRAME will remember Bob’s extreme affability, his great wisdom, his refinement and his immense love for France. Bob acquired Haut-Bailly in 1998, one of the biggest castles of Pessac-Léognan, and the Château Le Pape in 2012. His passion for wine and French culture also led him to support the development of the now famous Cité du Vin, in addition to his patronage of the opera, the museums of the City of Bordeaux, including the Museum of Fine Arts - a FRAME founding member.

After being Knighted, Bob Wilmers was awarded The Insignia of the Order of the National Order of the Legion of Honor by Alain Juppé, the Mayor of Bordeaux, on September 21, 2017. The FRAME Board and members extend their deepest condolences to Élisabeth Wilmers, Bob Wilmers' family and loved ones.