Creating an American Identity

Exhibit Details


Musgrave Wing Galleries

The Springfield Art Museum permanent collection contains over 9,000 works in nearly all media. The Museum has been collecting since its incorporation in 1928 with its very first work, an oil on masonite landscape by Philadelphia artist, Mary Butler. With this work, the Museum began collecting with a predominant focus on American art from the 18th century onward; however, over the years and due to the increasingly diverse patronage of the Museum, the collection has broadened to include a variety of work spanning multiple time periods and cultures.

When viewed together, the highly diverse works in these galleries all hearken back to a single theme – the forging of an American identity. Our history was built upon a foundation of plentiful land and the merging of multiple cultures. The works in these galleries represent a cross section of the collection with particular emphasis paid to the ways that these works reflect our country’s history as it developed its own very unique identity.

This exhibit includes major work by George Caleb Bingham, Asher B. Durand, Jackson Pollock, Grandma Moses, Robert Motherwell, Wayne Thiebaud, and Alison Saar.

Landscape painting of some fjords in the Netherlands

Mary Butler, The King, Isterdalen, Norway, ca. 1900-1928, oil on board. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum.