There are 9 permanent collections residing at the Portland Art Museum: American Art, Asian Art, European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Native American Art, Northwest Art, Photography, Graphic Arts, and Silver. Each collection contains rare and exciting pieces that visitors of all ages can enjoy.
The American Art collection is located in the main building on the second floor. It provides a chronological overview of the history of American art. The collection is filled with late 19th-century masterworks such as the magnificent Mount Hood by Albert Bierstadt, The Sculptor and the King by George de Forest Brush, and Thomas Moran's The Grand Canal, Venice. Other works from the first half of the 20th century include paintings by members of a group referred to as "The Eight", these were American artists that united to oppose academism and valued artistic freedom.
The Asian Art collection is located on the first floor of the main building and has approximately 4,000 pieces. The collection contains Chinese, Japanese, and Korean works, including prints, ceramics, paintings, and decorative arts. The pieces in the Chinese collection covers an extremely broad span of time, some ceramics even date back to the Han and Tang dynasties. The Japanese collection contains approximately 800 prints, a variety of paintings and decorative arts. The Korean collection is smaller than the other two but quite significant., with some items dating back to the 4th century and others as late as 1910.
The European Art collection has been the core of the Portland Art Museum since its founding in 1892. The collection occupies a chronological sequence of galleries on the Main Building's second floor allowing visitors to follow the works from the 17th century to the 19th century. Several important paintings were acquired in the early decades of the 20th century, but the Museum acquired French 18th-century Impressionist paintings which are nowat the center of the European collection. In 1961, the collection expanded to include the Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures.