The NBMAA collection represents over three centuries of major artists and movements of American art. Today it contains over 8,400 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, videos, and photographs.
Among collection highlights are colonial and federal portraits, Hudson River School landscapes, and American Impressionists. Strengths of the twentieth-century collection include works by members of the Ashcan School; significant representation by early Modernists; and ambitious examples of Regionalist painting, including Thomas Hart Benton’s celebrated five-panel mural, "The Arts of Life in America" (1932). Post-war highlights also include examples of Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Op art, Conceptual art, and more.
Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)considers experiences of racism toward African Americans that were absent or only alluded to in historical representations of the Civil War. Created in collaboration with the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, New York, each print in the portfolio is an enlargement of a woodcut plate from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Chicago, 1866), overlaid with Walker’s silkscreen cutout figures rendered in solid black silhouette.
This exhibition launches the Museum’s 2020/20+ Women @ NBMAA initiative, in which all exhibitions will be dedicated to female artists, in honor of the centennial of women’s suffrage in America.