Collection Theme

Painting and Sculpture, 1860-1920

This collection is the oldest and one of the most dynamic in Carnegie Museum of Art. It began in 1895 with purchases from contemporary artists: Winslow Homer, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Puvis de Chavannes, and Camille Pissarro.

The early collection reflected pride in emerging American schools and museums of art, including at Pittsburgh. Sculpture was represented by one great American, Augustus St. Gaudens, and one great Frenchman, Auguste Rodin. Then in the 1950s, as abstract painting swept the art world, the collection was updated with the addition of European moderns Piet Mondrian, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Gustav Klimt. A few years later, Sarah Mellon Scaife and her family transformed the museum’s collection. Mrs. Scaife’s shopping trips to New York in the 1960s are legendary—shipments to Pittsburgh of paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Signac followed each one. The collection received another boost in 1990, when new endowed acquisition funds supported plans to enlarge its scope. With American and French painting well established, the museum has added 19th-century British and Northern European painting and more European and American sculpture. A reinstallation of the 1860–1920 collection in summer 2012 showcases the best in four themed galleries: Sculpture, Realisms, Aestheticism, and Impressionism Forward.