New Britain Museum of American Art Permanent Collection
The NBMAA collection represents the major artists and movements of American art. Today it numbers about 8,274 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and photographs, including the Sanford B.D. Low Illustration Collection, which features important works by illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, and Maxfield Parrish.
Among collection highlights are colonial and federal portraits, with examples by John Smibert, John Trumbull, John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, and the Peale family. The Hudson River School features landscapes by Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Martin Johnson Heade, John Kensett, Albert Bierstadt, and Frederic Church. Still life painters range from Raphaelle Peale, Severin Roesen, William Harnett, John Peto, John Haberle, and John La Farge. American genre painting is represented by John Quidor, William Sidney Mount, and Lilly Martin Spencer. Post-Civil War examples include works by Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, George de Forest Brush, and William Paxton, and 19 plasters and bronzes by Solon Borglum. American Impressionists include Mary Cassatt, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, Willard Metcalf, and Childe Hassam, the last represented by eleven oils. Later Impressionist paintings include those by Ernest Lawson, Frederck Frieseke, Louis Ritman, Robert Miller, and Maurice Prendergast.
Other strengths of the twentieth-century collection include: sixty works by members of the Ash Can School; significant representation by early modernists such as Alfred Maurer, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Max Weber; important examples by the Precisionists Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, Preston Dickinson, and Ralston Crawford; a broad spectrum of work by the Social Realists Ben Shahn, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Jack Levine; and ambitious examples of Regionalist painting by Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry, and Thomas Hart Benton, notably the latter’s celebrated five-panel mural, The Arts of Life in America (1932).
Works by the American Abstract Artist group (Stuart Davis, Ilya Bolotowsky, Esphyr Slobodkina, Balcomb Greene, and Milton Avery) give twentieth-century abstraction its place in the collection, as do later examples of Surrealism by artists Kay Sage and George Tooker; Abstract Expressionism (Lee Krasner, Giorgio Cavallon, Morris Graves, Robert Motherwell, Sam Francis, Cleve Gray), Pop and Op art (Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Robert Indiana, Tom Wesselman, Jim Dine), Conceptual (Christo, Sol LeWitt), and Photo-Realism (Robert Cottingham). Examples of twentieth-century sculpture include Harriet Frishmuth, Paul Manship, Isamu Noguchi, George Segal, and Stephen DeStaebler. We continue to acquire contemporary works by notable artists, in order to best represent the dynamic and evolving narrative of American art.