The Everson's permanent collection encompasses approximately 11,000 objects, including paintings, ceramics, sculpture and videos. Although the collection has changed and grown substantially over its 100+ year existence, the Everson's current collection continues to grow and has been steered by decisions made early in the museum's history.
Within 20 years of its founding, the Everson made three character-setting decisions under the leadership of Fernando Carter, the second director of the museum. In 1911, it declared that it would collect only American art-the first museum anywhere to do so. During Carter's time as director (1910-1931), the Everson acquired many 19th century paintings, as well as American Impressionist and Tonalist works of the early 20th century.
The second decision was the 1916 purchase of a small group of porcelains from art potter and Syracuse resident Adelaide Alsop Robineau (1865-1929). Today, the Everson houses the largest holding of Robineau works in the world, forming the basis for its renowned ceramics collection.
The third was the decision to collect representative works by regional artists, a tradition that still continues. In addition to education exhibitions that feature the artwork of local students, the Everson routinely includes Syracuse and Central New York artists in its Biennial Exhibition.
One of the Everson's primary collections is of American paintings, with nearly 700 artworks that span two centuries.
Among the 19th century artists represented are Gilbert Stuart, Edward Hicks, Charles Loring Elliot, Eastman Johnson, Severin Roesin, Celia Beaux, Jane Peterson and Abbott Handerson Thayer. Early Modernists include Charles Hawthorne, Robert Henri, John Sloan, John Marin and Arthur B. Carles. Mid-century painting is represented by Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottlieb, Milton Avery and Andrew Wyeth.
A particular concentration in the collection, landscapes of New York State by New York State artists, is best represented by second-generation Hudson River School, tonalist, and impressionist painters, but also regionalist and early modernists (William Ongley, Sanford Gifford, Levi Wells Prentice, George Inness, Henry W. Ranger, Roswell S. Hill).
Paintings by 1960s abstractionists Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Al Held and Jules Olitski are also included in the collection, in addition to paintings, photographs and multimedia works from the 1980s by Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Les Levine, Nancy Spero, Malcolm Morley, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Philip Guston.
The ceramics collection of the Everson is widely recognized for its magnitude and magnificence.
Currently one of the largest holdings of American ceramics in the nation, the Everson's collection can be attributed to the decisions made by Carter in the early 20th century. After the initial purchase of Robineau porcelains in 1916, the Everson acquired more of her artworks. Then, in 1932, the Ceramic National exhibitions were established at the Museum in her memory.
An important series of exhibitions that ultimately changed the public opinion on ceramics (from craft to art form), the Ceramic Nationals enabled the Everson to amass a singular collection of American ceramics produced during the past seven decades. Today, the collection of American ceramics numbers over 4,000 pieces that range in date from 1000 AD to the present, from works by ancient Americans of the Southwest to the most cutting-edge examples by contemporary artists.
The American Art Pottery collection, a diverse grouping of over 2,000 pieces, includes both hand-crafted ceramics and examples of commercial ware. The Everson has exemplary works by most of the major potters, including Robineau, Rookwood, Fulper, Grueby, Tiffany, George Ohr, Newcomb and Marblehead.
The period spanning the 1930s to 1960s is documented by significant pieces from the major movements of those decades. In the area of figurative sculpture, there are works by Wayland Gregory, Suzy Singer, Vally Wieselthier, Victor Schreckengost and Guy Cowan. Mid-century pots reflective of European and Japanese influences are by such seminal artists as Warren MacKenzie, Gertrude and Otto Natzler, Ken Ferguson and Paul Soldner. The collection also includes important ceramic works by American innovators Peter Voulkos, Rudy Autio, Beatrice Wood, Robert Arneson and Howard Kottler.
Recent developments in ceramic sculpture are outlined by works by Michael Lucero, James Makins, Viola Frey, Betty Woodman, Adrian Sax and Ralph Baccera. In addition to the American ceramics collection, the Everson houses study collections of ceramics from around the world, numbering around 1,500 pieces. These range in date from a Chinese funerary urn from 3000 BC to contemporary examples of European and Japanese ceramic art.
We invite you to visit the Syracuse China Center for the Study of American Ceramics Collection of the Everson Museum of Art to learn more about this collection.
The Everson's sculpture collection comprises over 200 works primarily of the 20th century. It includes pieces by many notable artists, including: Alexander Archipenko, Beverly Pepper, Leila Katzen, Ernest Trova, John DeAndrea, Claus Oldenberg, George Segal, Michael Tracy, Sol Lewitt, and Mary Frank.
Art videos emerged as an art genre during the late 1960s and 1970s, at which time the Everson avidly began a video collection. Today, the museum maintains one of the earliest and most comprehensive collections of art videos of the period. The approximately 500 tapes include work by Nam June Paik, Mary Lucier, William Wegman and Bill Viola.
A collection of 450 photographs provides an overview of developments in that medium over many years. A strong holding of images from the post-World War II era offers particular insight into photography during that time.
Works on Paper
Approximately 600 works on paper provide an overview of 19th and 20th century art movements. The works serve to parallel and amplify the American paintings collection.
As a former center of the American Arts and Crafts movement, the Everson houses a growing collection of decorative art objects. Now numbering close to 100 objects, the collection consists primarily of furniture, with items made by Gustav Stickley and other area artisans and firms active in the production of Arts and Crafts artifacts.