Fine Art Collection

For more than 150 years, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum has collected, conserved, and exhibited the art of its time, often working directly with living artists. This tradition has given rise to one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of modern and contemporary art.

The museum’s collections span some of the greatest moments in art through the centuries, beginning with its first acquisition, The Marina Piccola, Capri, 1859, by Albert Bierstadt—both the first painting and the first work gifted by an artist to enter the museum’s collection. Impressionism and post-Impressionism are well represented with works by leading nineteenth-century European artists such as Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh. Cubism, Surrealism, Constructivism, and other movements from the revolutionary early years of the 20th century come to life through significant works by Georges Braque, André Derain, Frida KahloFernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Georgia O’KeeffePablo Picasso, and Alexander Rodchenko.

Jackson Pollock's Convergence, 1952 (background), and Polly Apfelbaum's Reckless, 1998 (foreground). Photo: Tom Loonan for Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Clyfford Still's PH-48 (1957-D-No. 1), 1957 (background), and Rachel Whiteread's Untitled (Domestic), 2002 (foreground), in the Sculpture Court. Photo: Tom Loonan for Buffalo AKG Art Museum

The collection is especially rich in postwar American and European art. Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Op art, and art from the 1970s through the end of the 20th century are well represented, including exceptional works from Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Jasper Johns, Franz Kline, Roy Lichtenstein, Marisol, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and many others. The museum holds the world’s second largest collection of works by the Abstract Expressionist painter Clyfford Still, with 33 paintings (31 of which were gifted by the artist). It is also the world's largest repository of the work of Marisol, who bequeathed her estate, including more than 100 sculptures, to the museum in 2016.

The Buffalo AKG continues to add to this collection and seeks to represent the most important voices in contemporary art of the 21st century. In recent years, the museum has acquired major works by artists such as Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Olafur Eliasson, Harun Farocki, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Rodney Graham, Mona Hatoum, Anselm Kiefer, Yayoi Kusama, Simone Leigh, Jaume Plensa, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Cindy Sherman, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Rachel Whiteread, and many others. These additions to the collection ensure that future generations will continue to discover the incredible diversity of international modern and contemporary art during visits to the museum.

Works from our collection are not currently on view as we build the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. We look forward to welcoming you to a new, expanded collection installation when we reopen at our Elmwood Avenue campus in the first half of 2023.