PAFA Announces Latest Acquisitions to Permanent Collection


PAFA Announces New Acquisitions to Permanent Collection

Exciting works by Nina Chanel Abney, Becky Suss, Hale A. Woodruff, Ellen Lanyon, and others are the latest to join PAFA's growing collection of American art

PHILADELPHIA (June 27, 2016) – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) announces the most recent acquisitions to its growing collection of American art. The works include paintings, sculpture, and works on paper spanning from the turn of the 20th century to the present.

Some highlights from the latest group of acquisitions include Nina Chanel Abney’s bold acrylic and spray paint diptych Potato, Potata (2015); Becky Suss’ memory-infused interior landscape 76 Meadow Woods Road (2012); a portfolio of eight Hale A. Woodruff linocuts from his Atlanta period (1930-1946); a large collection of interrelated drawings, prints and objects from the pioneering feminist artist Ellen Lanyon; and a suite of 20 watercolor sketchbooks spanning the career of longtime PAFA alumna and faculty member Elizabeth Osborne.

Expanding 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.

PAFA’s contemporary collection is dramatically enhanced by the new purchases of work by Chicago native Nina Chanel Abney, whose narrative yet abstract compositions address issues of race, gender, politics, and pop culture; and by Philadelphia artist Becky Suss, whose interior landscapes contemplate issues of nostalgia, loss and the memory of objects.

“Nina Chanel Abney’s work complements PAFA’s holdings of socio-political and history-focused artwork, and augments our existing collection of works made both by and about African Americans,” says Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art. “The addition of Becky Suss’ work will enhance – from a contemporary perspective – PAFA’s collections of landscape and figurative art, and its holdings of art by women and by Philadelphia natives.”

Collecting and showing work by African-American and female artists have been part of PAFA's history from the 19th century to the present.

Anna Marley, Curator of Historical American Art, says the Woodruff prints are an important gift that reinforces PAFA’s commitment to African-American artists and fulfills the artist’s desire for his work to be publicly accessible.

Marley notes, “Woodruff’s work provides a compelling commentary on the plight of African-Americans of his time, and continues to serve as a powerful call to action against racial injustice of the present day.”

The gift from Lanyon’s estate – 60 drawings, 60 prints based on those drawings, and 300 objects used as source material for those works-- will serve as an ideal teaching tool for PAFA students. Moreover, the Osborne sketchbooks will be a valuable resource for future generations of artists and art historians examining the oeuvre of this influential painter.

Some of the exciting new acquisitions will be on view in the upcoming PAFA exhibition Happiness, Liberty, Life? American Art and Politics, including the Chanel Abney diptych and the eight Woodruff prints, as well as a trio of PAFA-commissioned prints by Kathy Aoki that address the current political landscape through the lens of three pieces in the museum’s historical collection. Los Angeles-based artist C.K. Wilde’s powerful currency collage Emptiness Portrait of Thich Quang Duc (2006), another new gift, can also be seen in the exhibition opening June 30.

The museum also purchased work from the 115th Annual Student Exhibition by Jonathan Lyndon Chase and Omid Shekari, two up-and-coming artists who are members of the school’s 2016 graduating MFA class.

Images are available upon request.


Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America's first school and museum of fine arts. 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.

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 Hendricks,Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.