Museum Educational Site Licensing Project: Content Selection Working Group

National Museum of American Art

Description of the Museum

The National Museum of American Art (NMAA) is the nation's museum dedicated to the arts and artists of the United States from the earliest colonial times to the present. NMAA's collection of more than 37,500 works of art--paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, crafts, and folk art--is the largest collection of works by American artists in the world With its Renwick Gallery, devoted to the study and exhibition of American crafts and decorative arts, the museum addresses the full spectrum of American artistic pursuits from colonial times to the present.

A visit to NMAA's galleries offers an opportunity to experience over two hundred years of the nation's visual heritage from the eighteenth century to the present. Early highlights include masterworks of the colonial era and early republic, and exceptional portrait miniatures. Western art includes more than 480 paintings of Indian life by George Catlin, varied western subjects, and important works by Native American artists. Among nineteenth- century landscapes are views of the Hudson River Valley and Niagara Falls, epic-scale western vistas, and more. Nineteenth-century marble sculptures, Paul Manship's twentieth-century bronzes and major contemporary works highlight the museum's sculpture collection. Impressionism and the American Renaissance are represented by in-depth holdings of Childe Hassam, John Twachtman, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and Thomas Wilmer Dewing and masterworks by John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and others. The museum has the finest collection of works by African-American artists of any general museum, representing more than 100 artists. Hispanic-American art includes Luis Jimnez's "Vaquero" sculpture at the museum's entrance, religious painting and sculpture, carvings, folk art, and contemporary works. The museum's folk art collection is anchored by the Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr., collection of historic and contemporary folk art-- more than 400 objects. Photography and graphic arts include documentary photographs and prints from the 1930s and 1940s, extensive holdings of photographs by Aaron Siskind and Irving Penn, contemporary photos, and graphics from the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. With a rich collection of figurative and scene paintings, including the nation's largest collection of art produced for New Deal-era projects, and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Collection of American abstraction, NMAA offers an excellent survey of twentieth century American art.


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Last Modified: Tuesday, 13-Aug-1996 18:41:30 EDT