Press Release

PAFA Announces New Additions to Permanent Collection

PAFA Announces New Additions to Permanent Collection

Works by Emily Sartain, Jim Campbell, Debra Priestly, Bill Walton, Mel Edwards, Eugene Feldman, and others join PAFA's growing collection of American art

PHILADELPHIA (March 27, 2017) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) announces the addition of more than 30 works to its permanent collection of American art. The works include paintings, sculpture, installation, and works on paper made from the early 1800s to the present.

Highlights include a custom LED electronic sculpture Scattered 9x (Marathon) (2015) by San Francisco-based new media artist Jim Campbell, and a trio of sculptural assemblages by the late Philadelphia sculptor and printmaker Bill Walton.

“Jim Campbell’s influential but still under-recognized work brilliantly tests the limits of recognition, perception and empathy through his pixilated, low-resolution moving images,” said Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art. “We also make it a point to be sure our collection plan includes the very best artists in our own backyard here in Philadelphia, and Bill Walton is certainly one of them.”

PAFA is also excited to announce the purchase of a powerful work currently on view through April 9 in PAFA’s internationally praised World War I and American Art exhibition: Debra Priestly’s charcoal pencil portrait installation entitled somewhere listening: Company B, 365th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division, A.E.F. 1918-1919 (2014).

“Drawn from a panoramic portrait in her grandmother’s collection of family photos, somewhere listening is one of Debra Priestly’s most significant works to date,” Throckmorton added. “We’re delighted to bring works by these three incredibly gifted artists into our collection.”

Also on the list of new purchases is a portrait Study: Female Head (1878) by Emily Sartain, a PAFA-educated artist from an important 19th century Philadelphia art making family, one of the first female mezzotint engravers in the U.S., a longtime teacher, and the only woman to win a gold medal at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. Sartain, along with friend Mary Cassatt, was a fellow student in PAFA’s ground-breaking first “ladies’ life class” of 1868.

“Emily Sartain was a prominent educator, a pioneering feminist, an artist who influenced generations of women artists in Philadelphia, and a nationally recognized authority on art education for women,” said Anna Marley, Curator of Historical American Art. “This painting is a mature masterwork of an artist who was connected to PAFA as a student, exhibitor, committee member, and prize winner.”

Growing and diversifying its permanent collection through gifts and purchases is a key focus of PAFA’s mission. The purchases are being made through collections endowments and dedicated collections funds.

“Expanding and diversifying our permanent collection through gift and purchase is a key focus of PAFA’s mission,” said David R. Brigham, PAFA’s President, CEO and Acting Museum Director. “These latest acquisitions reflect this mission and our institutional commitment to telling the full history of American art."

Among the museum’s newly acquired gifts is a collection of 20 works on paper by Eugene Feldman and Edward Cain, a gift of Ruth Fine, scholar and curator of PAFA’s landmark Norman Lewis exhibition.

PAFA’s contemporary collection is also greatly enhanced by generous gifts including a limited edition lithograph by Mel Edwards, For Giza (1992), gift of Judith Brodsky; a mixed-media sculpture by Dina Wind, Search for an Anchor (1997), gift of the Wind family; and a large oil on canvas by Gary Erbe entitled Double Jeopardy (2000) along with an accompanying construction study of the same work, gift of Max Berry.

A list of these new purchases and gifts, and a selection of images, are available.


Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America's first school of fine arts and museum. A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts, PAFA is a recognized leader in fine arts education with a world-class permanent collection of American art.
Last Updated
March 29, 2017 - 9:41 AM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.