The Museum maintains a superb collection of American art that is noted for its strengths in early-20th-century regionalism, social realism and the development of modernism. Strengths include fine works by masters such as Maurice Prendergast, William Glackens, Guy Pène Du Bois, Stuart Davis, John Marin, George Bellows, Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Charles Demuth. Although lacking signature artists in the postwar period, the Museum's American painting holdings show rich strengths in early modernism and abstraction -- Ilya Bolotowsky, Costantino Nivola, Alexander Calder and a major painted wood construction by sculptor Louise Nevelson (1899-1988). Nevelson's Shadow Chord (1969) typifies her hallmark sculptural "environments" developed in the 1950s and 1960s. This characteristic "black wall" is made up of 61 differently sized boxes painted a simple, flat black, and amassed as a single unit.
Contemporary works include a fine collection by more than 70 prominent artists from the 1970s to 1990s representing the pluralism of late-20th-century styles including post-painterly abstraction and color field works by such artists as Stephen Greene, Stanley Boxer, Nancy Graves, Elaine DeKooning, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler and Gregory Amenoff. Realist works range from pop-inspired Alex Katz, to expressionists Leonard Baskin and George Baselitz, the painterly figuration of Janet Fish, the tonal landscapes of Wolf Kahn, and the photo-realism of Richard Estes and Gary Erbe.
The second-floor American and European galleries integrate prime examples of late-19th-and-20th-century painting, graphic works and sculpture, with more than 140 important examples of photography to provide a composite visual experience of American and European 20th-century artistic development.