The mission of the Museum of Art is to collect, preserve and exhibit art and artifacts of importance; to provide instruction, enrichment, and appreciation of these objects; and to facilitate an understanding of the various peoples and cultures that produced them.
A renowned art collection, fascinating exhibitions, and education programs for all ages are presented in a landmark 1960 International-style building designed by Philip Johnson (1906-2005) and in historic Fountain Elms, an 1850 Italianate mansion.
The Museum collection numbers approximately 15,000 works of art, the core of which is 19th-century through contemporary American fine arts and 19th-century American decorative arts.
The 19th-century painting collection has strengths in the Hudson River School and is known for its series of four paintings, “The Voyage of Life” by Thomas Cole, as well as holdings by Gilbert Stuart, Frederic Church, Asher B. Durand, and others.
The Modern and Contemporary collection is noteworthy for its works by Maurice Prendergast, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, and Louise Bourgeois. In addition, the Museum has a distinguished group of paintings and sculptures by leading European Modernists, including Salvador Dali, Wassily Kandinsky, and Pablo Picasso.
The decorative arts collection is recognized for its objects by prominent cabinetmakers and silversmiths such as Anthony Quervelle, John Henry Belter, Alexander Roux, Herter Brothers, Gorham Mfg., and Tiffany & Co.
Fountain Elms features four mid 19th-century period room settings that showcase the finest in Victorian-era decorative arts, and has galleries that offer changing exhibitions of 19-century furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, textiles, and the renowned Proctor watch collection and modern and contemporary art.