University of Arizona Museum of Art


University of Arizona Museum of Art

The University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA) is an art museum in Tucson, Arizona, operated by the University of Arizona. The museum's permanent collection includes more than 6,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings[1] with an emphasis on European and American fine art from the Renaissance to the present.

The museum is located on the UA's campus near Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. Admission is free to UA students, faculty, and staff with student ID. It is part of "the Museum Neighborhood," a cluster of four museums within walking distance of each other; the other three museums are the Center for Creative Photography, Arizona State Museum, and Arizona Historical Society (a non-UA institution located just off campus).[2]


A university gallery at the University of Arizona existed in the 1930s. In the 1930s, the Works Projects Administration, one of the New Deal agencies, donated 200 lithographs and prints created by artists that it supported. These works formed the core of the museum's initial collection of works.[3]

In 1944, University of Arizona alumnus Charles Leonard Pfeiffer donated many American paintings. This was followed by the addition of the Samuel H. Kress Collection, a donation from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, which originally comprised 50 European paintings, in the early 1950s. Museum director Peter Bermingham led the museum for over 20 years, from 1978 to 1998.[3] During his tenure, the museum more than doubled its holdings.[4] Peter Briggs, who had begun his work in the museum as curator of collections in 1990 under Bermingham, was promoted to chief curator, but his contract was not renewed in 2004.[5]

On the day after Thanksgiving 1985, shortly after the museum opened, a woman distracted a guard on the museum's staircase while a man working with her cut Willem de Kooning's Woman-Ochre out of its frame and hid it under his coat while the two left. Guards realized immediately afterward that the painting had been stolen. It was found in 2017 by some Silver City, New Mexico, antique dealers, in the house of a woman who had died, and returned to the museum shortly afterwards. The museum is currently raising funds for its restoration.[6]


Among the museum's several different collections are:

Circuncisión by Gallego, at the University of Arizona Museum of Art

The expansion of the museum's permanent collection of the museum is funded by the Edward J. Gallagher, Jr. Memorial Bequest, an endowment which has funded museum acquisitions since 1980. The endowment has led to the acquisition of over a thousand pieces, including works by Honoré Daumier, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, José Posada, Käthe Kollwitz, Frank Stella, Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Elizabeth Catlett, and Robert Colescott.[1]

The research arm of the museum is the Archive of Visual Arts (AVA). The archive received its first major contribution with Robert McCall's gift of over 200 paintings and drawings to the museum.[16] The gift was announced in 2007 by McCall, who estimated the value of the works to be between $2.5 million and $3 million. Among the donated McCall pieces of space art are Mars Outpost and Mars Metropolis.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Collections Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine." University of Arizona Museum of Art.
  2. ^ "Staff/Contact Us." University of Arizona Museum of Art.
  3. ^ a b Donna Kreutz, "A Hidden Treasure: UA Museum of Art houses a world-class collection." University of Arizona Alumni Association Alumnus (Fall 2007)
  4. ^ Rachael Myer, "Reflections of an artist" (February 19, 1999), Arizona Daily Wildcat.
  5. ^ Margaret Regan, "Paint It Black: Esteemed UAMA Curator Peter Briggs is being forced out as of June 30" (April 1, 2004), Tucson Weekly.
  6. ^ Ryman, Anne (August 1, 2018). "Who stole the $100M masterpiece? Clues emerge in year since recovery of Willem de Kooning painting". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  7. ^ Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, "'Secrets of the Divine' PBS show on UA Museum of Art medieval altarpieces" (November 16, 2010). Tucson Citizen.
  8. ^ David Leighton, "Harvill Drive named for former UA president," Arizona Daily Star, May 25, 2015
  9. ^ "The Modern Spirit: Selections from the Edward J. Gallagher III Memorial Collection", University of Arizona Museum of Art.
  10. ^ "2015-2018 museum exhibitions". University of Arizona Museum of Art. 2015. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  11. ^ "Search Priseman". University of Arizona Museum of Art. 2015. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  12. ^ Priseman, R. & Boland, M (2015). Fame. Seabrook Press. ISBN 978-1505888416.
  13. ^ "Art Exchange". Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  14. ^ "FAME – Robert Priseman | WhiteBox". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  15. ^ "Art Exchange". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  16. ^ "The Archive of Visual Arts at the University of Arizona Museum of Art," University of Arizona Museum of Art.
  17. ^ "Artist Robert McCall Captures Thrill of Space Exploration in UAMA Exhibit" (March 5, 2008), University of Arizona.

External links

  • Official website

Coordinates: 32°14′09″N 110°57′21″W / 32.2357°N 110.9559°W / 32.2357; -110.9559