The Tyler Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection tells a tale of a growing and vibrant institution that has cultivated the community’s interest in the visual arts since we opened in 1971.
A museum’s permanent collection defines the very essence of the institution, giving the museum meaning and purpose, and a lasting legacy for past, current and future generations. The TMA’s Permanent Collection has grown rapidly in recent years in step with the institution’s exhibition and education programs. The collection began with tentative steps during the Museum’s second year, and in 1987, the decision was made to form a permanent collection. Works of art given as gifts to the Museum prior to that date were “retroactively” accessioned, and a formal collecting plan was developed.
Our Permanent Collection now includes more than 800 individual works in addition to the Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican and Latin American Folk Art, one of the largest collections of its kind in the United States. As when it began, the collection’s primary focus is on contemporary Texas art, but our collecting philosophy makes room for consideration of all culturally and historically significant works from the 19th century to the present. Internationally established artists such as Terry Allen, David Bates, Keith Carter, Vernon Fisher and Charles Umlauf are represented in our collection alongside emerging contemporary talents including Janet Chaffee, Billy Hassell, Sedrick Huckaby and Franklin Willis. Seminal works by Texas Impressionists Julian Onderdonk and Porfirio Salinas reside in our vault alongside lithographs by Norman Rockwell, sculpture by Clyde Connell and glasswork by Dale Chihuly.
Due to gallery space limitations, the Museum is unable at present to keep the collection on permanent public display. However, due to a recent initiative we call “Digital Picture Ladies” generously funded by TMA co-founders the Junior League of Tyler and an anonymous donor, images and information on each work in our Permanent Collection are available to view in a searchable online database. To view works from our Permanent Collection, click here
Additional works of art continue to be given as gifts to the Museum and others have been selected for purchase with funds donated by benefactors. Such individuals — and in some cases, organizations and foundations — have been vital partners in forming the collection and in defining the Museum’s character and purpose. Top donors who contribute $10,000 or more through our Collectors’ Circle Membership Program have the option of allocating a portion of their gifts to artwork acquisition. This group meets annually to vote on recommendations by the curatorial staff for a new work they would like to acquire for the Museum, and (pending approval by the Board of Trustees) and accessioned into the Permanent Collection.
Our most recent acquisitions include historic works by Salinas and fellow Texas Impressionist Leonard Woodruff, and a suite of black-and-white photographs by contemporary local photographer Robert Langham titled Brickstreet Anthology.