Creating a Collection: A Tour Through the Smith College Museum of Art


The SCMA—like most museums—relies on gifts to add things to its collection. These gifts often come from generous art collectors (patrons of the museum), or from the artists themselves. Here are a few examples!

In the early 1900s, a man named Joseph Brummer donated art (specifically modern art) to the SCMA. This cutting-edge new work, seen in Juan Gris's Fruit Dish, Glass, and Newspaper (1916), helped the SCMA start to fill a gap and strengthen the collection. 

Dwight Tryon was one of the earliest art instructors hired by Smith College.
He also quickly became an adviser to President Laurenus Clark Seelye on what artworks to purchase for the college's growing art collection. Along with overseeing the purchase of paintings by many of Tryon's contemporaries—including Thayer, Dewing, and Ryder—Tryon also donated many of his own artworks to the SCMA's collection.[1]  

Unfortunately, some of these artworks were deaccessioned by the museum in the 1940s. One example of this is Tryon's "Dawn," which is now in the collection of the Art Complex at Duxbury. 

[1] Michael Goodison, “Founding a Museum: Laurenus Clark Seelye, Dwight William Tryon and Alfred Vance Churchill, 1870-1932,” in Image and Word: Art and Art History at Smith College (Northampton, MA: Smith College, 2003): 116-117. 

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