PHILADELPHIA (January 3, 2019) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) announces the addition of 520 historic, modern and contemporary works to its permanent collection of American art in 2018, including 296 artworks at the recent meeting of the Board of Trustees on December 13, 2018.
The newest acquisitions and gifts—many of them by women, artists of color, and artists not frequently seen in museums—include an important oil painting by artist Joan Brown, Self Portrait, 1977. Self Portrait, measuring 84 x 72 inches, is one of the most monumental self-portraits Brown painted in the 1970s. The artist played a significant role in the San Francisco Bay Area Figurative Movement. In Self-Portrait (1977), she calls into question the stereotypical image of the female artist—she depicts herself perched on a chair wearing clean, white gloves, and high heels, while in reality, Brown (1938–1990) was often covered from head to toe in paint when she worked.
"We have a few artworks by Joan Brown in our collection, but nothing from this period of time," said PAFA Curator of Contemporary Art Jodi Throckmorton. "Such a major work really fills a gap for us in her work and strengthens our collection."
Highlights in the latest group of purchases include a mixed media installation by PAFA graduate Aaron Fowler (BFA '12), You Are Not The Father (2017–18). Materials used in this sculpture include a mirror, cotton balls, and a motorized spinning globe on a little girl's deconstructed bedroom set. Fowler (b. 1988) uses unconventional materials and nineteenth-century iconography to discuss contemporary blackness.
PAFA also acquired 38 prints, drawings and paintings from the estate of Evelyn Statsinger (1927–2016), which will join the two works already in the permanent collection. Together, the 40 works will create a thorough collection of Statsinger's abstract works that spans decades, depicting the dynamic range of her work during a significant shift in American art. PAFA was one of two museums chosen to select works from Statsinger's estate.
PAFA is also excited to announce the purchase of four digital prints from Philadelphia artist Jeffrey Stockbridge (b. 1982), which depict the opioid crisis in the city's Kensington neighborhood. This will be the first work of Stockbridge's to enter the permanent collection. His photographs were featured in a recent New York Times article about the opioid crisis in Philadelphia.
Other highlights among the new purchases:
- Three works by Cuban-American artist Nestor Armando Gil (b. 1971), whose work was on view at PAFA last summer in the two-person exhibition SWARM. Gil's work examines migration, memory, and loss within diasporic communities in printmaking, sculpture, and performance.
- 155 prints spanning the career of the Philadelphia artist Ruth Fine (b. 1941).
- A self-portrait, Carried Beauty (2018) by Nigerian American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985), who was recently featured with a one-person exhibition in New York City at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
- A commissioned drawing by Philadelphia-based artist Mark Stockton (b. 1974), The Poet in His Bedroom or Walt Whitman in repose amongst a chaos of papers in Camden in 1891 (2018), that depicts the American poet, Walt Whitman, in advance of Whitman's 200th birthday anniversary in 2019.
Growing 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 from PAFA patrons.
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.