American Collection

American paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from the colonial period to 1980

The art of the United States is a notable strength of the Palmer Museum of Art. The American paintings survey major developments of the nineteenth century, with concentrations in portraiture from the Early Republic, Hudson River School landscapes, genre scenes and still lifes from before and after the Civil War, and figural subjects by expatriates and impressionists around 1900. Highlights include paintings by Grafton Tyler Brown, Winslow Homer, William Trost Richards, and Benjamin West. The early decades of the twentieth century are well represented with important canvases by Pennsylvania (New Hope) impressionists, urban realist scenes and portraits by Ashcan School artists, notably John Sloan, Guy Pѐne du Bois, George Luks, and Everett Shinn, and signature works by modernists like Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Joseph Stella. The varied subjects and styles of American Scene painting of the 1930s and 1940s are amply represented in works by Reginald Marsh, Thomas Hart Benton, Violet Oakley, Theresa Bernstein, and many other artists of the period.

Strengths in postwar American art include a rich array of works by sculptor Seymour Lipton, major paintings by northern California figurative artists, among them Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Nathan Oliveira, and Bay Area Funk artists Robert Arneson, Roy DeForest, and William T. Wiley. Important works by Philip Pearlstein, Jerome Witkin, and Simon Dinnerstein well represent the ascendance of figurative painting several decades after World War II.

The Palmer’s extensive collection of prints, drawings, and watercolors parallels and expands the above areas but with significant depth in works from the 1920s to the 1940s by, among others, Isabel Bishop, Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Hedda Sterne, Dox Thrash, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Peggy Bacon, George Bellows, Gifford Beal, Minna Citron, Paul Keene, John Biggers, Joseph Stella, and Dorothy Dehner.

George B. Luks (American, 1867–1933), Thompson and Bleecker Streets, c. 1905