The Permanent Collection
The San Diego Museum of Art’s collections are all encompassing, with objects from across the globe, and ranging in date from 5,000 B.C. to the present. Perhaps best known for its Spanish old master paintings, the Museum holds a broad collection of European, American, Latin American, and Asian Art.
Among the most important aspect of the Museum’s holdings in Asian art are the world-class South Asian paintings from the encyclopedic collection of Edwin Binney 3rd; Buddhist sculpture of China and Japan; Ukiyo-e woodblock prints; and a wide variety of ceramics, metalwork, and decorative arts ranging in date from about 1,600 BCE until the present-day.
The American collection has flourished since the institution’s founding. In addition to paintings and decorative arts dating back to the colonial era, the collection features works by Durand, Cassatt, Inness, Eakins, and Chase. Several works by O'Keeffe, works by artists of the Ash Can School, and paintings by modernists Dove and Avery are just a few of the highlights from the Museum's collection of early twentieth-century American art.
The collection of modern art also boasts works by masters working in Europe and Latin America in the twentieth century, including Matisse, Dalí, Magritte, Rivera, Tamayo, Miró, Calder, Moore, and Hepworth.
The European collection also holds strong groups of paintings ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, to the eighteenth century, to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Recently, the Museum has made significant acquisitions of contemporary art and photography, and of art from Africa, Oceania, and the indigenous peoples of the Americas – areas not traditionally collected by the Museum. The institution has a strong commitment to build those important areas of the collection and to provide a bridge between the new areas of focus and existing collection strengths.