The Fisk University Galleries maintain a permanent collection of over 4,000 objects that span three centuries of art history. Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Henry O. Tanner, Elizabeth Catlett, Diego Rivera, Aaron Douglas, Winold Reiss, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Alfred Stieglitz are just a few of the acclaimed artists represented in the permanent collection, along with significant examples of African, Oceanic and Asian art. Works from the collection are exhibited regularly in permanent and temporary installations at the university's Carl Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas galleries.
The Alfred Stieglitz Collection
In 1949, the acclaimed American painter Georgia O'Keeffe presented to Fisk the extraordinary works that for The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Modern American and European Art. Consisting of 101 objects, 97 of which come from her late husband's enormous art collection and four that were owned by O'Keeffe, The Stieglitz Collection is a stunning survey of modern art from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Works by Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, Charles Demuth and many other iconic figures associated with early modern art are represented in the collection.
The Aaron Douglas Collection
The Aaron Douglas Collection includes over 30 works by the former Fisk professor and Harlem Renaissance (1924-1930) artist. The collection spans Douglas's historical career from New York City in the 1920s to his death in Nashville during the late 1970s. Paintings, sketchbooks, prints, photographs and graphic works form the content of this remarkable collection.
The Carl Van Vechten Collection
In 1946, Carl Van Vechten donated 400 of his outstanding photographic portraits to Fisk. One of the great cultural figures and philanthropist in American life between the two World Wars, Van Vechten was a prominent dance and music critic and novelist during the 1920s. From the early 1930s until his death in 1964, he was best known as a theatrical and society photographer. The Carl Van Vechten Portrait Collection contains photographs of celebrities, artists, and other prominent figures taken in his studio and in private settings.
The Harmon Foundation Collection
With close to 200 works, The Harmon Foundation Collection forms the backbone of Fisk University Galleries' outstanding African and African-American art collections. The Harmon Collection contains traditional African artifacts and iconic works by many of the leading African-American and African artists of the early to mid-twentieth century, including James Porter, Hale Woodruff, Susan Ogunjami, William Henry Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Alexander "Skunder" Boghosian, and Romare Bearden. The Harmon Collection was presented to Fisk in 1974.
The James Miles Collection
The James Miles Collection is one of the smallest and most remarkable collections maintained by Fisk University Galleries. Containing eight large scale paintings created by the artist James Miles, a 1974 graduate of Fisk, the collection looms large among the Galleries' holdings due to the astounding artistry and monumental size of the works. The Miles Collection was presented to Fisk in 2010 by the artist's family.
The John C. Taylor Collection
The John C. Taylor Collection is one of the largest and most eclectic collections housed by the galleries. The Taylor Collection contains paintings, artifacts, prints and decorative objects from various historical periods, cultures, and continents, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Chinese porcelains and 20th century American and European paintings form the core of this collection, which includes over 200 objects. The Taylor Collection was presented to Fisk in 2002.
The Liff Family Collection of African Art
Well-known and rare masks, ancestral statues and other traditional objects from East and West Africa form The Liff Family Collection of African Art. Presented to Fisk in 1989, the collection contains over 100 traditional objects made by several tribal groups, including the Senufo, Bambara, Bobo, Guro, Maasai, Mossi, Yoruba and other sculpture producing peoples of sub-Saharan Africa.
The Winold Reiss Collection
In 1953, the German-born artist Winold Reiss donated 25 of his stunning portrait drawings to Fisk in honor of his former pupil Aaron Douglas, the acclaimed Harlem Renaissance painter and Fisk educator. The portraits, dating from 1924 to 1927, came from Reiss's acclaimed Harlem and St. Helena Island Series, both of which display his remarkable gifts as a draftsman and colorist.
Other collections include The Everette James Folk Art Collection and The Joseph Norman Print Collection.