History & Overview of the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Collection
Beginning with Anna C. Hoyt’s generous donation of 105 Old Master and modern prints more than 50 years ago, the collection has continued to flourish and increase the depth, diversity, and number of its holdings. With the merger of Peabody College and Vanderbilt University in 1979, the collections were substantially enriched. Now totaling more than 7,000 works, it serves to illustrate the history of world art in its most creative and comprehensive aspects. This art historical collection is the only one of its kind in the area, serving the needs of students and the wider community.
The collection has grown to include strong works in East Asian art with the Harold P. Stern Collection, the Chauncey P. Lowe Collection, and the Herman D. Doochin Collection; European Old Master paintings with the Samuel H. Kress Collection; paintings from the Barbizon school; and African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian art and artifacts from the Marjorie and Leon Marlowe Collection.
In recent years, the gallery has sought to increase its holdings of works by internationally recognized contemporary artists. Examples from this portion of the collection include Arion Press’ Biotherm by Frank O’Hara with lithographs by Jim Dine; Louise Bourgeois’ and Arthur Miller’s Homely Girl, A Life, published by Peter Blum Editions; Paesaggi by Mimmo Paladino, published by Waddington Graphics; Leslie Dill’s A Word Made Flesh and her Homage to N.S., published by Landfall Press; and Enrique Chagoya’s The Enlightened Savage, published by Trillium Press; as well as graphics by artists such as Tjeu Teeuwen, Peter Foolen, Hans Waanders, Kees Verbeck, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Richard Long, Joseph Kosuth, Roni Horn, Mona Hatoum, Hamish Fulton, and Sol LeWitt.
Now numbering 566 works, photography is increasingly a vital part of the Fine Arts Gallery’s collection, with pieces by such photographers as Lucien Clergue, Chuck Close, Ralph Gibson, Donna Ferrato, Harmony Korine, Sally Mann, Barbara Morgan, Shirin Neshat, Andres Serrano, Edward Steichen, Joyce Tenneson, Bill Viola, Andy Warhol, and William Wylie.
In addition to gifts of important pieces from university supporters, objects have been acquired through corporate and special purchases made possible with funds from the Vanderbilt Art Association, the Dr. and Mrs. E. William Ewers Gift for Fine Arts, and numerous private donors and foundations.
The Fine Arts Collection is used for the development of temporary exhibitions as well as for student study and research. Therefore there may be times when the permanent collection is not on view; however, the majority of the collection can be explored through our Collection Database.