The Permanent Collection has developed in support of the Museum’s mission to create visual arts experiences that engage people and inspire learning through exceptional exhibitions, collections and educational opportunities. The collection consists of approximately 4,000 works of art and includes works on paper (prints, drawings, watercolors and photographs), paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, mixed-media works, and video. Works date from antiquity through the 21st centuries and originate from Idaho and the Northwest, the United States, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
The present scope of BAM’s collection is American art (18th century to the present), with additional emphasis on Asian art (BCE to the present), European Art (19th century to the present), and Ethnographic collections from several continents.
American art is the largest genre represented in the BAM collection. Strengths in the works on paper and paintings include American realism and American abstraction. The collection includes work by nationally and internationally recognized artists, such as Eastman Johnson, Reginald Marsh, George Bellows, Maynard Dixon, Kenneth Callahan, Robert Colescott, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Faith Ringgold, Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Hung Liu, Pat Steir, Jasper Johns, James Cook, William Wiley, and Jane Hammond.
A distinguishing characteristic of Boise Art Museum’s collection is its significant holdings of Northwest art. Since the 1930s, Boise Art Museum has continued to collect and exhibit works by notable artists from Idaho and the greater Northwest, highlighting the richness and diversity of talent in the region. Northwest artists in the collection include Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Lucinda Parker, Fay Jones, John Grade, Carl Morris, Mark Tobey, Judy Hill, Morris Graves, Deborah Butterfield, Rudy Autio, Darren Waterston and Dale Chihuly. The collection is further distinguished by having the largest museum collection of artworks by self-taught, Idaho artist James Castle.
BAM’s collection of Native American art ranges from traditional earthenware, weaving, and basketry to work by contemporary Native artists such as Marie Watt, James Lavadour, David Bradley, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Rick Bartow. This diverse collection celebrates the history and continuation of Native American artistic practice in the United States.
Boise Art Museum holds a wide array of historic Asian art objects from the 17th -19th centuries. Highlights include netsuke, snuff bottles, ceramics and woodblock prints by Utagawa Kunisada, Kitagawa Utamaro, and Ando Hiroshige. Contemporary Asian works in the collection include a scroll painting by Wu Guanzhong, ceramics by Tatsuzo Shimaoko, photographs by Byung-Hun Min and Toshio Shibata, mezzotints by Katsunori Hamanishi, and twentieth-century woodblock prints by Masao Ido.