The Joslyn Art Museum
is the principal fine arts museum in Nebraska. Located in Omaha, it is the only museum in the state with a comprehensive permanent collection. Although it includes works from antiquity to the present day, its greatest strengths are in nineteenth and twentieth century American and European art.
The museum opened in 1931, the product of a private donation from the Joslyn family, whose name it bears. It occupies a large and impressive Art Deco building designed by Alan McDonald, largely constructed of marble of many different kinds, close to downtown Omaha. There are many decorative panels on Native American themes. A substantial extension, designed by Sir Norman Foster, opened in 1994.
The permanent collections are:
Ancient, including an exceptional collection of Greek pottery
European: 16th and 17th century works include paintings by Veronese
, Claude Lorrain and El Greco
. However the strongest collections are from the 19th century, including romantic works by Delacroix and Gustave Doré, realist works by Corot
and Gustave Courbet, and an impressionist works by Degas
, and Renoir
American: the collection includes early American portraiture by James Peale and Mather Brown; many works by painters of the Hudson River School, realist works by Winslow Homer
and Thomas Eakins
, and works by the American impressionists Childe Hassam
and William Merritt Chase
Western American: including important collections of work by the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer based on his 1832-34 journey to the Missouri River frontier, and by Alfred Jacob Miller, also illustrating the West of the 1830s.
Native American: including both traditional works and work done under the influence of, or in reaction against, European conventions and training.
Twentieth Century: a wide range of 20th century painting and sculpture is represented, including paintings by Henri Matisse, Stuart Davis, Theodore Roszak, John Sloan and Robert Henri, and sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, Robert Haozous, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and Martin Puryear. The collection stresses significant American artistic movements, including regionalism (with paintings by Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton) and Abstract Expressionism (with work by Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann, and Helen Frankenthaler) and Pop Art (with work by George Segal and Tom Wesselmann).
Although the best known names appear in the European and American collections, it is probably the Western American and Native American collections that have the greatest importance as collections, allowing a rare opportunity to study these genres and periods of art as well as giving an important insight into the history of the western United States.
In addition to its permanent collections, the museum mounts regular special exhibitions. It also serves as an important regional educational and artistic resource, and its building includes an auditorium where regular concerts are held.