The BMA has an outstanding collection of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts dating from the colonial era to the late 20th century. Among the highlights are important regional holdings such as Maryland-related portraiture by Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, and other members of the renowned Peale family; silver from Baltimore's prominent silver manufacturing company Samuel Kirk & Son; and painted furniture by John and Hugh Finlay of Baltimore.
The painting collection ranges from 18th-century portraits and 19th-century landscape painting to American Impressionism and modernism with works by acclaimed artists John Singleton Copley, Thomas Sully, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, and Thomas Hart Benton. Notable canvases include A Wild Scene (1831-1832) by Thomas Cole, La Vachère (1888) byTheodore Robinson, and Pink Tulip (1926) by Georgia O’Keeffe. These are complemented by outstanding holdings of prints and drawings, as well as modern photographs from the Gallagher/Dalsheimer Collection. Artists represented include by Imogen Cunningham, Man Ray, Paul Strand, and Alfred Stieglitz.
The BMA has a long and distinguished record of collecting works by African-American artists that began in 1939 with one of the first exhibitions of African-American art in the country. This collection has grown substantially in recent years with the addition of more than 50 historical and contemporary works. Joshua Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Edmonia Lewis, Horace Pippin, and Henry Ossawa Tanner are included among the 19th- and 20th-century African-American artists.
The BMA’s holdings of American decorative arts include an extensive furniture collection that represents the major historic cabinetmaking centers of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Many of these objects came from Miss Dorothy McIlvain Scott, a generous Baltimore philanthropist and collector.
A remarkable gift in 1933 by Mrs. Miles White, Jr. of over 200 stunning pieces of Maryland silver formed the nucleus of an impressive silver collection that now embraces objects by leading 18th- and early 19th-century silversmiths in Annapolis and Baltimore, as well as elegant examples of early English silver owned by Maryland families during the Federal era. Later masterworks by artists from Louis Comfort Tiffany to Georg Jensen are also on view.
Other notable aspects of the decorative arts collection include a rare set of five clerestory windows and two brilliant mosaic-clad architectural columns that represent Tiffany's lasting contribution to 20th-century ornament. Period rooms from six historic Maryland houses, along with architectural elements from other historic buildings, illustrate town and country building styles from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a dozen miniature rooms made by Chicago miniaturist Eugene Kupjack invite scrutiny of a variety of decorative styles at close range.
On view throughout the renovation, the BMA’s holdings of American Modernism feature exceptional works from leading figures of the early 20th century. See innovative landscapes and figurative compositions by artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, and Charles Sheeler.
Friends of the American Wing
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