The Museum’s permanent collection encompasses over 6,500 objects, including paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The diverse collection began with an initial gift by the Museum’s founders, Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Singer, Jr. Their generosity and that of subsequent donors have built a remarkable art collection that continues to grow. The collection includes strengths in American art, 19th century European, international collections that reflect the founders’ cosmopolitan worldview, and collections of world cultures.
Objects of the Month
Childe Hassam (1859-1935), American
White House Gloucester, 1895
Oil on Canvas; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Singer, Jr.
A native of Dorchester, Massachusetts, Childe Hassam began his career in the studio of an engraver. Through later study and travel as a painter, Hassam participated in artists’ colonies in coastal New Hampshire, Old Lyme, Connecticut, and Gloucester, Massachusetts—the site of this light-filled summer picture. White House, Gloucester was one of the first gifts of William and Anna Singer to the newly established Museum of Fine Arts in 1931.
Edward Steichen (1879-1973), American, born in Luxembourg
Yellow Moon, 1909
Oil on canvas; Gift of Mrs. Conger Goodyear, 1953
Yellow Moon is a rare survivor from Edward Steichen’s early career, when he divided his time between painting and photography. Traumatic experiences during World War I caused Steichen to abandon painting, and in 1922, he burned all his canvases. Only those that had already left his hands survive. Thereafter, Steichen devoted himself to photography, a medium in which he earned a reputation as a portraitist, creative modernist, and curator.
Ashcan to Abstraction: Modernism in America
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This long-term exhibition, from the Museum’s permanent collection, explores the development of 20th century American art. Artists such as John Sloan, Robert Henri, George Luks, William Glackens, Hugo Ballin, Philip Guston, Robert Goodnough, Gene Davis, and Grace Hartigan capture the full range of artistic movements experienced during this transformative century.
Sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. Kerstein, The Nora Roberts Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation, and the Washington County Gaming Commission.
European Old Masters (ongoing)
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Old master paintings form an important part of the Museum’s collection and are showcased in the Schreiber Gallery. Works of art by artists such as Giovanni Mazone, Timoteo Viti, and Pierre Mignard are included.
Nineteenth Century American Art (ongoing)
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Curated by Dr. Elizabeth Johns, Professor Emerita, History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, this exhibition presents the Museum’s outstanding collection of nineteenth century American art. Artists in the installation include Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Robert Spear Dunning, and John Gutzon Borglum. Exhibition sponsored in part by Art & Ruth Anne Callaham and Spence & Cinda Perry.
Singer Memorial Gallery (ongoing)
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The Singer Memorial Gallery was established in 1949 by the Museum’s founder, Hagerstown native Anna Brugh Singer (1873-1962), as a tribute to her husband, artist William Henry Singer, Jr. (1868 – 1943). The diverse art collection they amassed, and of which over a hundred works were donated to the Museum, conveys the story of their lives as American expatriates in Norway and art collectors, while presenting compelling and significant works reflecting American, Dutch, and French trends of the late nineteenth-century.
Opened in 2013, the current installation was organized by guest curator, Hollis McCullough, to display the tastes of the Singers and highlight the significant works of art they contributed to the Museum. Artists in the installation include Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, Adolphe Joseph Monticelli, Gustave Courbet, and Pierre-Auguste Rodin.
How to donate a work of art to the
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts gratefully accepts donations of art works, if they meet the goals of the museum’s Collection Plan and the criteria established by the Collections Management Policy. Works of art under gift consideration must serve the best interests of the museum and significantly enhance the collection. To assist you, we offer the following answers to frequently asked questions.
What kinds of art works are collected?
The museum’s Collection Management Policy serves as a guideline for the acquisition of all works of art. Artworks under consideration for accession to the permanent collection must conform to the museum’s mission, meet the vision of the Collections Plan, and must enhance and strengthen the museum’s existing collections. They must have a free and clear title, a documented legal provenance, and be acquired in an ethical manner. In addition, artworks under gift consideration must meet established criteria such as quality, artistic merit, aesthetic value, rarity, and historical significance. When weighing offered gifts, museum staff and trustees also consider current condition, needs and costs for conservation and storage, installation requirements, and any requested restrictions on use.
How are art works collected?
All potential gifts are reviewed initially by a staff committee including the Director, Curator, and Manager of Collections and Exhibitions. If object(s) are identified as desirable acquisitions for the permanent collection, the Curator prepares a recommendation for presentation to the Collections and Exhibitions Committee, a committee comprised of trustees, designated advisors, and staff. If the art work is selected, the Collections and Exhibitions Committee makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees to accept the work. The Board of Trustees makes the final decision, by vote, to accept the offered work.
Works that are not accepted as accessions for the museum’s permanent collection may be accepted as acquisitions “for the benefit of the museum.” These works may be sold at the museum’s discretion, and the proceeds used to support collections growth, exhibition projects, or public programs.
Appraisal and Authentication
To prevent any conflict of interest, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts does not provide appraisal, identification, or authentication services. A list of appraisers can be provided, without qualification or endorsement, upon request. For information on appraisers, please visit the websites for Appraisers Association of America or the International Society of Appraisers.
Do you have artworks that might fulfill our collecting mission?
If so, please follow these steps:
1. Send pictures and information about the artwork(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org
for initial review by museum staff. If you do not have email, you may call the museum at 301-739-5727.
2. After reviewing your photos, the museum staff will contact you to discuss the offered artwork, or to schedule an appointment to view it.
3. Once museum staff confirms the object meets the collecting goals of the Museum, the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions will contact you regarding a required Deed of Gift form and to schedule delivery of the artwork to the Museum.
4. Acknowledgement of the gift will be sent to the donor after the Collections Committee has recommended acquisition of the gift and the Board of Trustees has voted to accept it.
5. Please be advised that this process can sometimes take several weeks to complete.
The Museum cannot authenticate or appraise works of art.
Nazi Era Provenance
The “Guidelines Concerning the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi Era” issued by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) recommend those museums identify collection objects that were created before 1946, were acquired after 1932, underwent change of ownership during 1933-1945, and that were or might reasonably be thought to have been in continental Europe between those dates. The Museum adheres to these guidelines and continues to research the collection to establish complete provenance (history of ownership). The WCMFA is a participating museum on AAM’s Nazi Era Provenance Internet Portal.