American Artwork

Andy Warhol Cow Wallpaper

Andy Warhol, Cow Wallpaper,
serigraph on wallpaper, 1971, 45 ½"x 29 ¼",
Donated by UM President
George Dennison and Jane Dennison

From Impressionism to Contemporary; American Indian to Western Art; New Deal Prints; and WWII Posters

19th Century American Painting (1800-1899)
This collection contains spans a century of work by artists who were influenced by or involved in early American artistic movements, such as the Hudson River School (1820) and the Taos Society of Artists (1898).  These artists responded to a changing America-one with expanding urban populations and rapidly developing industries.  They depicted the dramatic grandeur of the western landscape, scenes of rural life, the declining frontier and the disappearing cultures of impacted American Indian Nations.  

The Montana Museum of Art & Culture has works by Hugh Bolton Jones, Joseph Henry Sharp, John G. Brown, Douglas John Connah, William Merritt Chase, Fra Dana, Ralph DeCamp, E. W. Gollings, Alfred Maurer, John Francis Murphy, Edgar S. Paxson, Frederic Sackrider Remington, and Charles Yardley Turner.  

American Indian Art
Tangential to the westward expansion of industries and cities, American Indian populations were being decimated by smallpox, famine and military action.  The surviving tribes were allocated to Reservations.  The Montana Museum of Art & Culture has important early American Indian works including an 1889 ledger book drawing done in the Missoula Jail, an 1892 ledger drawing by Philip John, as well as the prints by Woody Crumbo, and paintings by William Standing. 

The Museum's collection of contemporary American Indian art includes paintings, prints, and metal sculptures by Jane Ash Poitras, Corwin Clairmont, Jason Clark, Jim Denomie, Gloria Emerson, Jay Laber, Erica Lord, John No Runner, Neil Tall Eagle Parsons, Kevin Red Star, Francis Wall, and John Well-Off-Man. See also The MMAC Photographic Collection for American Indian-related collections

20th Century American Art
Art from the first half of the century include pieces by prominent artists such as Northwest painter Charles Heaney (1897-1981), Depression-era muralist Gilbert F. Neumann (1906-1970), and a collection of illustrations by Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), among others.  

In addition, 111 New Deal Prints are on permanent loan to the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at The University of Montana courtesy of the Fine Arts Program of the General Services Administration in Washington D.C. These artworks were created during a period in U.S. history when community, government, and artists forged a common, distinctly American, culture.  Artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Reed Gardner, Kyra Markham and Samuel Margolies were hired to document welfare lines, industrial scenes, farm scenes and public transportation throughout the country.  

Also represented in the collection are the works of Josephine Hale (1878-1961), a Great Falls rancher and early American Red Cross Volunteer in France during WWI.  Hale returned to France in 1924 to study painting and drawing at the Académie Delacluse.  As a result of her travels, Hale had access to the finest early 20th century academic arts training available during a time when France was the epicenter of the art world.  Hale served as a conduit for a chic, sophisticated European culture to take root in the sparsely populated region on the plains, east of the Continental Divide.  Hale brought this fine arts education and an astute eye to bear upon uniquely Montana subjects when she returned to Great Falls-Glacier National Park, the Missouri River, and the small coulees and benches along the Rocky Mountain Front.

The Museum's 20th century holdings are greatly augmented by the work of Fra Dana (1874-1948) and the collection of American Impressionist artworks which she bequeathed to the Montana Museum of Art & Culture.  Dana was one of the leading artists of the Rocky Mountain Northwest at the turn of the 20th century, as well as an art patron and collector. 

A vintage collection of largely of World War II-era Propaganda Posters has been collected and preserved by the University of Montana as they were issued by U.S. government agencies. This collection numbers several hundred posterss and documents an unparalleled time in American history.

Bill and Polly Nordeen Collection of Western Art
Containing 161 pieces of art, this collection includes works by Karl Bodmer, Edward Borein, Norton Bush, George Catlin, Eanger Irving Couse, Earle Heikka, Frank Tenney Johnson, Ace Powell, Edgar S. Paxson, Frederic Remington, C.M. Russell and Olaf Wieghorst.  The three hand tinted lithographs by Catlin are beautiful documents of the landscape he experienced during excursions to the western United States in the 1830s and 1840s.

Later 20th century art works include Robert Motherwell, Larry Rivers, Edward Ruscha, David Salle, Max Pechstein, Peter Phillips, Theodore Stamos, R.B. Kitaj, Nell Blaine, Peter Voulkos and Andy Warhol, among others.