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


One way for the SCMA to acquire works of art it really wants to add to its collection is to buy them. The museum can buy works from galleries and dealers, and directly from the artists creating the objects. 

Buying art directly from artists ensures the artwork's authenticity, demonstrates a commitment to the working creative, and shows an active interest in contemporary art. Smith demonstrated an interest in and commitment to these values as an early teaching institution dedicated to the arts. 

In the SCMA's earliest days, in the 1870s, artworks were often bought directly from the artists who created them. Examples of this include Abbott Handerson Thayer's Winged Figure (now at the Art Institute of Chicago), Thomas Wilmer Dewing's Lady with a Lute (now in the National Gallery of Art), and Winslow Homer's Song of the Lark (now at the Chrysler Museum of Art). 

Bought from a dealer
When being re-matriated (added back into the collection) in 2015, Ramesseum at Thebes was spotted and bought from a dealer in New York City. The SCMA used money from the Hillyer-Mather-Tryon Fund (a combined source of funds given by three major donors to the SCMA) to purchase the artwork.

Click on these other artworks to explore works PURCHASED by the SCMA

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