American and European postwar paintings and sculptures at the McNay reflect two parallel developments in the art world: an ongoing departure from illusionism while maintaining references to nature; and the dominance of the abstract or nonrepresentational. As the art world’s focus shifted from Europe to New York City, an explosion of large abstract painting occurred during the period, influenced by émigré European abstract and surrealist artists along with American painters’ experiences creating murals. Growth in the area of postwar sculpture began after the museum’s opening in the mid-1950s and increased in the 1990s.
The McNay’s growing collection of contemporary art features a diverse mix of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper that explore the wide range of approaches used by recent artists. With a focus primarily on American artists after 1970, gifts and strategic purchases allow for expanding this area of the collection regularly. The McNay Contemporary Collectors Forum (MCCF), an affiliate membership group, supports annual acquisitions of contemporary art. The collection has strengths in several late twentieth-century art movements, representing Abstract Expressionist painting and sculpture, geometric abstraction and optical art, and assemblage and minimal sculpture. These unite with recent acquisitions of works based on the human figure, as well as photographic images and installation art.
Alberto Giacometti, Bust of Annette IV, 1962. Bronze, 22 7/8 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Mary and Sylvan Lang Collection, 1975.63 © 2011 Succession Giacometti / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Robert Rauschenberg, Rush #5 from the Cloister Series, 1980. Collage with solvent transfer prints, off-set lithographs, fabric, acrylic and graphite on panel, 96 x 72 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert H. Halff, 1988.11 Art © Estate of Robert Rauschenberg/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Joan Mitchell, Hudson River Day Line, 1955. Oil on canvas, 79 x 83 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds from the Tobin Foundation, 1994.7. © Estate of Joan Mitchell
Robert Indiana, The Metamorphosis of Norma Jean Mortenson, 1967. Oil on canvas, 102 x 102 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin, 1999.94 © 2011 Morgan Art Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Dondald Judd, Untitled, 1989. Aluminum with Plexiglas, 39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with the Alvin Whitley Estate, with additional funds from Ann and Fredrick Erck, 2001.8 © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Alexander Calder, Four Winds, 1963. Painted steel and aluminum, 76 x 40 x 40 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Bequest of Robert H. Halff, 2005.3 © 2011 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Willem de Kooning, Eddy Farm, 1964. Oil on newsprint, mounted on board, 30 x 45 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Bequest of Roberet H. Halff, 2005.4 © 2011 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Friedel Dzubas, Untitled, 1959. Oil on canvas, 89 ¾ x 116 ½ in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with the Ralph A. Anderson Jr. Memorial Fund, 2006.74 Courtesy of Loretta Howard Gallery
Roger Shimomura, Him-a-Hero, 2004. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 72 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds from the McNay Contemporary Collectors Forum, 2008.21 Reproduced by permission of the artist
Sandy Skoglund, The Cocktail Party, 1992, printed 2010. Archival pigmented inkjet print, image 48 x 65 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Given anonymously, 2009.105 The Cocktail Party © 1992 installation and photograph Sandy Skoglund
David Smith, Stainless Network I, 1951. Stainless steel, 38 1/8 in. high. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Bequest of Evelyn Halff Ruben, 2005.13 Art © Estate of David Smith/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY