Permanent Collection

Lawrence University’s Permanent Art Collection contains more than 3,000 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, 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, as well as other approved scholars, have access to the collections for their research. Please contact the Wriston Art Center Galleries staff to arrange a research visit.

University students, faculty, and staff can view selections from the Wriston Art Center 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 Collection of Ancient and Byzantine Coins

Ottilia M. Buerger ’38, beginning in the 1950s, 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 loaned her collection to Lawrence so that it could be studied by students and faculty. Since then, the collection has been the subject of two 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.

Bearers of Meaning online catalog

La Vera Pohl Collection of German Expressionists

La Vera Pohl (1901-1981) was a Milwaukee artist, museum director, and collector who studied art and art history in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. Across a 40-year period, she collected some 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 the Wriston Art Galleries 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 a total of 98 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 FSA murals and studies, modernist compositions, Japanese inspired imagery, expressionistic and whimsical motifs and poster designs.

Estampas de la Revolucion Mexicana

This portfolio is complete with text of 85 linocuts by 16 artists of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP), Mexico City. Artists in this portfolio are: Ignacia Aguirre, Luis Arenal, Alberto Beltran, Angel Bracho, Fernando Castro Pacheco, Jesus Escobedo, Antonio Franco, Arturo Garcia Bustos, Julio Herrer, Leopoldo Mendez, Francisco Mora, Isidoro Ocampo, Pablo O’Higgins, Everardo Ramirez, Mariana Yampolsky, Alfredo Zalce. Historical notes (Notas historicas)by Alberto Morales Jimenez, layout (Maqueta artistica) by Lena Bergner, technical direction (Direccion tecnica do la edicion) by Hannes Meyer.

Sepik Collection

Lawrence University's collection of masks, armbands, figures, drums, and other artifacts representing New Guinea ethnographic art came to campus in 1982 through the generosity of three alumni: G. Jack Gevaart '55, Carol Golossey Gevaart '58, and J. Russell Podzilni '53.  The objects, which are from an area known as the Sepik region, were part of a larger group of artifacts collected by the Center for International Cultural Exchange - a venture supported by residents of Wisconsin's Janesville-Beloit area, including the Gevaarts and Podzilni.  Fifteen years ago, the center launched its collecting expeditions in collaboration with an Australian anthropologist and trader who had devoted most of his professional life to collecting, identifying, and appraising artwork from the South Pacific.  Gevaarts and Podzilni donated to the anthropology department when the Center for International Cultural Exchange dissolved.  Lawrence, along with other institutions such as the Smithsonian and Milwaukee Public Museum, is fortunate to have become beneficiary of such artifacts, which provide a valuable opportunity to gain insight into Sepik region's rich and varied culture.

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