Collections

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.

Click Here to Browse the collection

Click Here to Take a Virtual Tour of the Museum

 

Objects of the Month

Object of May

Jacob Dooijewaard (1876-1969)
Dutch
Interior with Cradle (La chambre de bébé), 1926
Oil on Canvas
Gift of Thomas Newcomer

Born and trained in Amsterdam, the Dutch painter Jacob Dooijewaard became friends with the museum’s founders Anna Brugh Singer and William H. Singer, Jr. when they were living in Laren, the Netherlands. Dooijewaard often travelled with the Singers, and advised them on art purchases. After William Singer’s death in 1943, Dooijewaard remained a devoted companion to Mrs. Singer for the rest of her life.

In honor of Mother’s Day, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is pleased to display Interior with Cradle, a recent acquisition to its permanent collection. The painting joins two other paintings by Jacob Dooijewaard also dedicated to the topic of motherhood.

Jacob Dooijewaard (1876-1969)
Dutch
Endormi (Sleeping), 1926
Oil on Canvas
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Singer, Jr.

Jacob Dooijewaard (1876-1969)
Dutch
The Baby’s Layette, 1926
Oil on Canvas
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Singer, Jr.

 Object of June

 

Joseph Deweese Holston (b.1944)  American Jazz at Takoma Station, 1998  Oil on Canvas Gift of the artist

Joseph Deweese Holston (b.1944)
American
Jazz at Takoma Station, 1998
Oil on Canvas
Gift of the artist

 

In celebration of the Western Maryland Blues Fest, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is pleased to feature Jazz at Takoma Station as its Object of the Month for the month of June. Largely self-taught, Joseph Holston also studied at Howard University and Montgomery College in Maryland. Reflecting the influence of artists Jacob Lawrence and Pablo Picasso, Holston employs bold colors and flat shapes to reduce subjects to their basic forms. His motifs include themes of daily African American life, as well as pure abstractions, African themes, and music. Holston’s syncopating forms and dynamic lines reflect the energy and rhythm of a jazz band performing at Takoma Station Tavern, not far from the artist’s studio.

Ashcan to Abstraction: Modernism in America

KersteingalleryphotolightenKerstein Gallery
(click for more photos)

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)

Mazone, Giovanni, Saints Mary Magdalene and Paul

 Schreiber Gallery
(click for more photos)

 

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)

Church cropped

Smith Gallery
(click for more photos)

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)

January 2014 921

Singer Gallery
(click for more photos)

 

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 info@wcmfa.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.