Paintings

Our painting collection has a strong core of Renaissance, Baroque, and American works. The Renaissance and Baroque collection began with a gift from collector and philanthropist Samuel H. Kress (1863–1955), and includes a fine selection of Italian, Dutch, Flemish, and rare German paintings. Our American paintings date from the mid-1700s to the present: a unique aspect of this collection is work by nationally recognized artists with connections to Eastern Pennsylvania, such as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Nelson Shanks, and Kay WalkingStick.

Decorative Arts

A particular gem in our collection is the library from the Francis W. Little House, designed 1912–1915 by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Many of our decorative arts objects provide a context for Wright’s work by highlighting related design movements.

Textiles

Our celebrated collection of over 8,000 textiles spans some sixteen centuries and six continents, and represents the most globally diverse area of our holdings. Particular areas of strength are international needlework traditions, European lace, and American printed silks of the 1920s-30s. This collection provides an extensive scope for research, exhibitions, and programming and has drawn both national and international attention for its quality. Gifts from the Merle-Smith family, Rosalind Miller, and Ellie Laubner form its core.

Works on Paper

Works on paper are a strong area of our collection and are frequently rotated in the galleries. Highlights include nearly four hundred prints dating from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century purchased with the SOTA (Society of the Arts) Print Fund. The history of twentieth century American printmaking—and the legacy of renowned print workshop Atelier 17—is well-represented thanks to gifts from Paul K. Kania and the Peter Grippe Collection.

Sculpture

Our sculpture holdings include works from fine art and religious traditions, as well as works that push the boundaries of art by incorporating unexpected elements such as sound or studio craft processes.