A retired teacher donated almost his entire estate, including his art — Chinese porcelain, Japanese prints, photographs and paintings by American, French and German artists — to the park he loved best.
Hempstead Lake State Park will receive about $750,000 from the estate — one of the largest gifts ever made to a Long Island state park.
“It’s so unusual for us,” said George Gorman, Long Island deputy regional director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The bequest from Philip Scott of Rockville Centre will become an endowment for Hempstead Lake.
Scott, a World War II veteran who taught in the Oceanside school district, began visiting the nearby park after moving to Rockville Centre in the 1960s, Gorman said.
“In the later years of his life, he walked around the lake almost every day enjoying the peacefulness of the park,” Gorman said.
His collection was notable, not just for its value, but also for its range. In addition to African artworks, there were lithographs and even a Renaissance woodcut by noted German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, according to auction records.
Scott was quite expert in all of the different art mediums and periods, said Gorman, who was given a detailed tour when he met with him several weeks before his death at age 82 on April 19, 2013.
The collector, consulting his extensive files, predicted how much each item might fetch at auction, Gorman said.
Scott was not only meticulously organized, he was also exceptionally modest.
“Mr. Scott did not request any recognition for this donation,” Gorman said.
That did not seem fitting to park officials.
“To honor his memory and permanently acknowledge his devotion to Hempstead Lake State Park, we named the pavilion at Hempstead Lake the Philip Scott Memorial Pavilion,” Gorman said. Last month, a plaque bearing Scott’s name was placed on the pavilion, the site of many a picnic.
The artwork raised a total of $295,000, Gorman said.
The most valuable item was a 7-inch-tall Tibetan gilt-bronze figure of Manjusrivajra, a sword-wielding Buddhist deity, which fetched $81,250, auction records showed.
Other standouts included a 1916 oil painting, “Weehawken Grain Elevators,” by American modernist John Marin, which went for $46,875, and a 1960 oil painting on a panel of a colorful coastal village by Indian artist Sayed Haider Raza that went for $43,750.
Scott’s bequest also included his home and car.