European Modernism masterpieces are on view in the Museum of Art's permanent collection galleries. Included are artworks by Kandinsky, Mondrian, Picasso, Dali, and many others.
In the early 1950s Harris K. Prior, the Museum of Art Director, and Edward Root, Consultant in Art, developed for the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Museum of Art a small, distinguished collection of paintings and sculptures that were created by pioneers of major 20th-century artistic movements, such as Cubism, Futurism, and Surrealism.
The Museum was founded as a collection of art from the United States, but Prior and Root believed that assembling a group of modern European art would be beneficial to demonstrate the influence of Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and other Europeans on American artists. Edward Root explained to the Board of Trustees, “This ought to give a kind of context to the collection, since it was in Europe that the rather strange developments of this century were initiated.”
Since the Prior and Root era, the Museum collected additional pieces that strengthen European-American connections. Prior, Root and subsequent Museum personnel were extremely judicious in their selections, so that the European Modernism collection represents each artist at the height of his powers.