McNay Collection /  The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts

The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts

The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, which includes close to 9,500 objects, emphasizes scene and costume designs for European and American theatre from the 16th century to the present. Highlights include Baroque festivals, Shakespeare plays, the Ballets Russes, Broadway musicals, and contemporary operas. The Tobin Collection includes the work of path-breaking designers from Edward Gordon Craig and Robert Edmond Jones to Ming Cho Lee and Ralph Koltai, as well as by artists in the theatre including Pablo Picasso, Natalia Gontcharova, Robert Indiana, and David Hockney.

Both the print and theatre collections are complemented by an extensive collection of more than 2,000 rare books. Primarily focused on the history of costume and stage design, the collection ranges from Baroque festival books commemorating royal European celebrations to rare volumes on bookmaking, the science of perspective, and books by artists on book illustrating. Noteworthy volumes are one of three known copies of Serlio’s treatise, De Architectura; the complete works of Chaucer printed by the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Morris; and Klange, illustrated by Wassily Kandinsky.

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