Art Collection Galleries

The Columbus Museum’s collection of fine and decorative art is a record of the changing artistic tastes of American culture from Colonial times to the present. The collection includes portraits, still lifes, everyday scenes and landscapes, as well as furniture and other decorative art. A succession of galleries highlight particular time periods in American art history. These are interspersed with galleries that focus on a particular style, theme or artist.

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Woodruff Works on Paper Gallery

Side Eye: Portraits in Profile Long before the “profile pic” and “profiling” gained common currency, artists employed visual representations of specific individuals from the side, rather than head-on or in three-quarter view. Indeed the ancient Greeks believed that relief sculpture originated when a young Corinthian woman traced the silhouette of her lover—departing for battle the […]

Colonial Art and New Nation

In the early 18th century, most American colonists lacked the wealth and the leisure time to cultivate the fine arts. There were no American institutions where artists could receive formal training. Skilled artists in the colonies were mainly immigrants who brought with them the most current European art styles. A growing demand for portrait painting […]

Classical Furniture

The Classical Style (1815-1840) of American furniture was a simpler version of France’s Empire Style, popular during Napoleon’s reign. It joined Classical motifs from Egypt and Greece with animal features such as carved feet and wings.  Classical furniture featured simple, massive, graceful curves; dark woods (especially mahogany) and veneers; and motifs such as palm leaves […]

Self-Discovery and Wilderness

Brave pioneers and commercial explorations rapidly expanded America’s frontier borders in the early 19th century. Artists started to associate the unspoiled wilderness with the new nation’s unlimited promise to the arriving settlers. One such group was the Hudson River school, American artists who painted landscapes between 1825 and 1875. They typically depicted the Hudson River […]

American Icons: The Peale Family and George Washington

Charles Willson Peale was one of America’s leading artists during the American Revolution and the early years of our nation. He was the patriarch of an extended family of artists including Raphaelle, James, Rembrandt, Rubens, Franklin, Sarah Miriam and Titian Ramsay Peale, who produced portraits, still life and landscape paintings. As a resident of Philadelphia, […]

Cosmopolitanism and Influences from Abroad

In the late 19th century, the rise of major urban centers transformed America. Advances in industry led to the emergence of a prosperous, sophisticated upper-class society. This group provided great patronage for the arts, often demanding the latest styles by the most acclaimed artists. More and more American artists set out to satisfy these demands […]

American Impressionism

Impressionism emerged in France in the 1860s as a style characterized by painting in the outdoors using loose brushwork and bright colors. This type of “plein air” painting showed the effects of light and atmosphere. American painters and collectors who spent time in Paris in the late 19th century introduced the new style to the […]

Robert Henri and His Students

In the beginning of the 20th century, a group of young artists based in New York City distinguished themselves from other American artists of the time. Led by Robert Henri, the group included William Glackens, John Sloan, George Luks and George Bellows. They portrayed everyday life on the streets. Their works seemed gritty when compared […]

Post-War and Pure Painting

After World War II, the United States took the lead in the formation of a vigorous new art movement.  A group of progressive artists known as the New York School developed Abstract Expressionism, a revolutionary way of painting.  They broke away from standard techniques and subject matter, and they made large-scale works that were reflections […]

Diversity and Multiculturalism

Artists today have unprecedented means of support, instruction and access to the public. It often seems that more art is being produced in the current generation than in all previous ones. As a result, in recent years artists have embraced a diversity of movements and styles. Craft media are now considered equal to painting and […]

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