PEX through paintings #3 – “My Young Friend”

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Following on from yesterday’s focus on unity and diversity of European philanthropy, today’s painting used to illustrate a point from PEX 2020 is Wyeth’s “My Young Friend”. The reason this painting has been chosen is the timely and important reminder that PEX 2020 provided: notwithstanding North American prominence and dominance in global philanthropy discourses, practices and research, North American philanthropy is the younger relation.

European philanthropy can look back on at least an extra millennium or two of experiences and experiments with philanthropy. Leaving aside Andrew Carnegie, key shaper of US philanthropy, being a Scotsman, from the Justinian code to the waqf model, European philanthropy has frequently provided the inspiration or basis for US developments in philanthropy, not the other way round. Thus, as one representative from a US foundation pointed out in the PEX session on ‘Communicating philanthropy’: it is time that Europe reclaimed ‘its’ philanthropy. This is not about discarding or ignoring others’ insights but about developing a more contextualised, nuanced and broader understanding of the field.


This short blog series reflects on ten overarching points relating to the 2020 Philanthropy Europe Networks (PEX) Forum through ten paintings from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection. All images featured in the series are photos taken in line with the museum’s policy allowing no-flash photography. Free acess to digital versions of the paintings and accompanying information on copyrights are provided on the museum’s webpages at

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