This exhibition celebrates the outstanding works of art that have been acquired over the past five years in honor of the 125th Anniversary of this Museum. Like the Museum’s collections as a whole, these new acquisitions span centuries, continents, and a broad range of artistic intentions, styles and mediums. Taken together, they offer a rich sampling of the infinite variations on themes that have inspired artists since the beginning of time, such as the wonders of nature or the human figure in all its myriad forms. A selection from over four thousand works of art acquired by gift and purchase is presented in the exhibition.

The vast majority of works of art on view throughout the Museum’s galleries have entered the collection as gifts over the past 125 years. This exhibition bears witness to the spectacular continuation of this tradition of generosity. For these new acquisitions, the Museum is forever indebted to a remarkable group of public-spirited benefactors who have relinquished their treasures so that they could be preserved for and enjoyed by visitors now and far into the future. Some donors gave individual masterpieces, sometimes family heirlooms that have been passed down for generations; others gave entire collections of objects lovingly assembled during the course of their lifetimes; still others contributed much-needed funds so that the Museum could purchase extraordinary works of art that would otherwise be far beyond its reach. Gifts of endowed purchase funds help to ensure that there will be funds for future purchases. To each and every generous donor go the heartfelt thanks of the Museum on behalf of its public for generations to come.


Anne d'Harnoncourt Director, Philadelphia Museum of Art