Conversations across the Collection

January 7 - May 14, 2023

As the Palmer Museum of Art begins the transition to its future home at the Arboretum at Penn State, its second-floor galleries will close in January 2023. The galleries on the first floor of the museum will remain open until May and the Snowiss Galleries of American Art will undergo a major reinstallation. The result, Conversations across the Collection, will feature a diverse roster of American artists from a range of eras. The reorganization brings together both visitor favorites and objects rarely on view to invite discussion through the juxtaposition of styles, viewpoints, and time periods. For example, Benjamin West’s Venus and Adonis (c. 1799) and Violet Oakley’s Venus Rising from the Sea (1940), painted more than a century apart, represent Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, in vastly different ways, revealing new dialogues between past and present.


The unexpected pairings between the paintings, prints, photographs, and sculpture on view in Conversations across the Collection are organized into sections, among them: abstraction; the American West; multi-figured urban scenes; mother and child depictions; still lifes; and domestic interiors. The exhibition also incorporates several recent additions to the collection, including paintings by Ernie Barnes, Beverly McIver, Jenny Morgan, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.


Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art