Lawrence University’s Permanent Art Collection contains almost 4,000 items — prints, drawings, paintings, sculpture as well as coins, textiles, posters, and ritual and vernacular objects — which span historical periods from antiquity to the present and come from all over the world. Our holdings include important collections of German Expressionism, Japanese woodblock prints, Oceanic artifacts, linocut prints from Mexico’s Taller de Gráfica Popular, contemporary American prints, and ancient and Byzantine coins.
Among the artists represented in the permanent collection are Thomas Hart Benton, William Adolphe Bouguereau, Warring Colescott, Honore Daumier, Utagawa Hiroshige, Francisco De Goya, Emily Groom, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Franz Marc, Emile Nolde, Lousie Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, Egon Shiele, Paul Signac, John Henry Twachtman, Carol Summers (seen left), and Grant Wood.
Selections from the permanent collection are regularly featured in exhibitions in the three galleries of the Wriston Art Center. The Lawrence University faculty also routinely incorporate the study of these original works of visual art into their courses and occasionally curate their own exhibitions drawn from the collection to explore important ideas and themes.
Lawrence University students and faculty and other approved scholars have access to the collections for their research. Please contact the Wriston Art Galleries' staff to arrange a research visit.
University students, faculty, and staff can view selections from the Wriston Art Galleries Permanent Collection on ARTStor, a non-profit online digital image library. Off-campus visitors can view the collection on Shared Shelf Commons.
Ottilia Buerger '38 Collection of Ancient and Byzantine Coins
Beginning in the 1950s, Ottilia M. Buerger ’38 assembled a collection of rare coins that is widely regarded as one of the finest in the United States. Guided by the conviction that ancient coins were small and beautiful eyewitnesses to history, Miss Buerger believed that her “baubles,” as she called them, could bring a vivid reality to the past. In 1991 she bequested her collection to Lawrence so that it could be studied by students and faculty. Since then, the collection has been the subject of major exhibitions at the Wriston Art Center and has been studied by hundreds of art history, classics, and history students. An online version of its catalog has been viewed by over 4.2 million visitors. When Miss Buerger died in 2001, she left instructions for her collection to come to Lawrence, along with a bequest establishing the Ottilia Buerger Professorship in Classical or Medieval Studies.
La Vera Pohl Collection of German Expressionism
La Vera Pohl (1901-1981) was a Milwaukee art historian, museum director, artist, and collector who studied in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. Over a 40-year period she collected around 220 prints, paintings, and drawings, most of them by early 20th-century German artists — a collection of particular significance because it was compiled at a time when most Americans were unaware of modern German art. Artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Emil Nolde, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff lend distinction to the collection, which has been described as “a sharply focused body of work . . . a survey of German Expressionism that embraces the whole of the movement.”
Mrs. Pohl bequeathed “her books and library and pictures and drawing collection” to Milwaukee-Downer College, which by the time of her death had become part of Lawrence University. A major exhibition of the collection was held in the newly completed Wriston Art Center at the time of its dedication in 1989.
Japanese Woodblock Print Collection
The collection of Japanese woodblock prints at Lawrence University includes a wide range of ukiyo-e artist works dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Most are from the 19th century and display a variety of different subjects including Bijin-ga (images of beauties), landscapes, and akusha-e (Kabuki actors). Artists such as Chikanobu, Keisai Eisen, Hasui Kawase, Torii Kiyonaga, Toyohara Kunichika, Kunisada, Shiro Kasamatsu, Ohara Shoson, Utagawa Toyokuni, and Yoshida Hiroshi are part of this collection. In addition to these, there are a number of works from Hiroshige’s series Fifty-three Stages of the Tokaido, Famous Place in the Eastern Capital (Toto Meishi), One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo Hyakkei), and more.
Schomer Lichtner and Ruth Grotenrath Collection
Donated by the Kohler Foundation, Inc., this collection includes almost 1,100 pieces, including prints, paintings, drawings and artist books by Wisconsin artists Schomer Lichtner (1905-2006) and Ruth Grotenrath (1912-1988). Called Wisconsin’s "first couple of painting," Lichtner and Grotenrath created Depression-era W.P.A. murals, modernist compositions, Japanese-inspired imagery, expressionistic and whimsical motifs and poster designs.
Estampas de la Revolucion Mexicana
This 1947 portfolio contains 85 linocuts by 16 artists of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP), a graphic art collective founded in Mexico City in 1937. The prints depict scenes from Mexican history from the 1870s to the 1940s, concentrating on the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), as well as representations of the social and civil injustices suffered under the dictatorship of President Porfirio Díaz (1876-1911).