Press Release

PAFA Announces Latest Additions to Permanent Collection

Works by Henry Ossawa Tanner, Minerva Cuevas, and Doron Langberg are among new additions to PAFA's Permanent Collection of American Art

PHILADELPHIA (January 8, 2020) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to announce the addition of 39 historic, modern, and contemporary works to its permanent collection of American art. These new acquisitions include works of painting, wood, wax, and works on paper, created between c. 1784 and 2019.

Among the works in this group of acquisitions are PAFA alumnus Henry Ossawa Tanner's (1859-1937) painting Pomp at the Philadelphia Zoo (c. 1880-86); a wax profile portrait bust of George Washington (c. 1784-86) attributed to Patience Lovell Wright (1725-1786)—the Revolutionary era predecessor to Madame Tussaud—which will be the earliest known work by an American woman artist in PAFA's collection; The End, a 2016 work by Minerva Cuevas (b. 1975) most recently featured in PAFA's current exhibition Ancient History of the Distant Future; The Coast of Cornwall (1914), a landscape painting by Walter Elmer Schofield (1866-1944); a work on paper by Nancy Azara (b. 1939); a major new painting by PAFA alumnus Doron Langberg (b. 1985); as well as works by Lucille Corcos (1908-1973), Robert Barnes (b. 1934), Louis B. Sloan (1932-2008), Deborah Oropallo (b. 1954), and Julie Heffernan (b. 1956), among others.

PAFA is committed to celebrating women artists in its evolving collection of American art and is a national leader in acquiring art created by women. Of the 39 works being added to the permanent collection in this group of acquisitions, 30 are by women artists.

Said Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum, "On a daily basis, the museum at PAFA simultaneously looks both to our history and our future. We have demonstrated that holistic mission by acquiring work by Henry O. Tanner, an artist who studied at PAFA and the first African American painter to receive international acclaim; a gorgeous work by African American artist Louis Sloan, a revered professor at PAFA from 1962 to 1997, who painted a lovely self-portrait in a field of flowers under a blue sky; and a new work by Doron Langberg, a young PAFA-educated painter who recently had a solo show in New York City at Yossi Milo Gallery. PAFA's focus on our past, present, and future allows us to tell the sweeping story of American art, unlike any other museum." 

"Henry Ossawa Tanner created the painting Pomp at the Philadelphia Zoo while an advanced student here at PAFA," said Dr. Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historical American Art. "Thomas Eakins, who taught Tanner, encouraged his students to study the many animals at the Philadelphia Zoo. This warm and engaging painting of Pomp the Lion is the PAFA collection's first painting by Tanner to have been created while the artist was living in Philadelphia. I can think of no better home for this painting, and it is a thrill to welcome it into the collection."

"One of our primary goals in building PAFA's collection is to acquire works that expand the story of American art," said Jodi Throckmorton Curator of Contemporary Art. "With The End, Minerva Cuevas considers the tradition of landscape painting through a 21st-century lens of globalism, environmentalism, and the ongoing mistreatment of the natural world. It is a painting that exists in dialogue with many historical works in PAFA's permanent collection, while at the same time addressing the urgent existential concerns of our contemporary moment."

PAFA is also pleased to announce a number of significant loans worldwide. In 2020, works from PAFA's permanent collection of American art will be on view at institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia; The Artist's Institute, Hunter College, New York; Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden; Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany; and other leading institutions globally.

Expanding and diversifying its permanent collection through gifts and purchases is a key focus of PAFA's mission. The purchases are made through collections endowments and dedicated collections funds, as well as gifts.

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the United States’ first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers a world-class collection of American art, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and educational opportunities in the fine arts. The PAFA Museum aims to tell America's diverse story through art, expanding who has been included in the canon of art history through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, while classes educate artists and appreciators with a deep understanding of traditions and the ability to challenge conventions. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.