Permanent Collections include ancient works, historical American and African art, classical European art, and contemporary art.
The American art collection began with the college, and under director Frank Jewett Mather Jr., began growing quickly. This collection is now considered to be among the best of all university museums. The museum began with an emphasis in art history, so naturally the ancient history collection is impressive. There are now over five thousand pieces in the ancient history collection, ranging from Mesopotamia, Iran, Asia Minor, Egypt, and the Mediterranean.
In conjunction with Princeton’s department of Archaeology, the museum has focused on expanding its collection of historical European art with samples of stained glass, classical paintings, sculptures, and more. Several different styles are represented, from Baroque to Post-Impressionist.
The Modern and Contemporary Art Collection includes pieces in different media, including painting, sculpture, video, and performance pieces.
The photography collection is considered one of the best in the country and was originated in 1949.
The campus collections feature art works that are considered important to the history of Princeton’s traditions. Just the portrait division of the campus collections contains over 600 paintings and sculptures, mostly depicting Princetonians and others that are important to the history of the college. Photo: Princeton University Art Museum
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