The Knoxville Museum of Art’s collection includes more than 1500 objects-works on paper, paintings, mixed media works, and sculpture—with particular focus on the art history of East Tennessee from the mid-19th century to the present, and on recent developments in international contemporary art. The collection was begun in the 1960s by the KMA’s predecessor, the Dulin Gallery of Art (1962-1987), and continues to grow through gifts and purchases. The many generous donors of artworks and purchase funds are listed along with basic cataloging information in the museum’s searchable collection database (link below). The KMA is grateful to the Aslan Foundation for its sustained support for collection development and other curatorial initiatives.
The KMA’s holdings are displayed on a rotating basis in several permanent installations:
Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee, traces the history of art in the region from roughly 1860 to 1980, and includes stellar examples by such artists as Ansel Adams, Lloyd Branson, Beauford Delaney, Joseph Delaney, Charles Farr, Bessie Harvey, Rudolph Ingerle, Charles Krutch, Philip Nichols, Eliot Porter, Charles Rain, Joanna Higgs Ross, Carl Sublett, Walter Stevens, and Catherine Wiley.
Currents: Recent Art from East Tennessee and Beyond examines recent developments in international contemporary art. It features a selection from the KMA’s growing collection of new works by emerging and established artists such as David Bates, Zsolt Bodoni, Jim Campbell, Daniel Canogar, Tomory Dodge, Wade Guyton, Ridley Howard, Loretta Lux, Ivan Navarro, Ulf Puder, Andrew Saftel, Hiraki Sawa, Leonardo Silaghi, Devorah Sperber, Jered Sprecher, Robert Stackhouse, Crystal Wagner, Charlotta Westergren, Anne Wilson, and William T. Wiley. Currents serves as a chronological extension and geographic expansion of Higher Ground. It also enables the museum’s audience to track the changing character of the region’s art community in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Cycle of Life Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity by Knoxville-based artist Richard Jolley was designed specifically for the KMA’s Ann and Steve Bailey Hall. At approximately 105 feet in length, 12 feet in height, 30 feet in depth, and weighing nearly 7 tons, Cycle of Life is comprised of thousands of cast and blown glass elements and tons of welded steel, and represents one the largest figural glass-and-steel assemblages in the world.
Facets of Modern and Contemporary Glass features the KMA’s growing collection of works by internationally recognized contemporary artists who are introducing new technical and conceptual approaches to the medium. It represents a broad spectrum of recent experimentation by modern and contemporary glass artists from around the world, and includes works by Curtiss Brock, Talibor Dichy, Luke Jerram, Dominick Labino, Harvey Littleton, William Morris, Iván Navarro, Clifford Rainey, Tommie, Rush, Frantisek Vizner, and Toots Zynsky.
Thorne Miniature Rooms, a group of nine period rooms created by renowned miniaturist Mrs. James Ward Thorne in the 1930s, are installed in a special gallery on the museum’s lower level.
Outdoor Sculpture: A selection of sculptures by Kenneth Snelson, Bill Barrett, Julie Warren Conn, Karen LaMonte, George Rickey, and others populates the museum’s South Garden, Rob and June Heller Garden, and Land Family Sculpture Garden.
Image Rights and Reproduction Requests
Please send any image requests to Clark Gillespie, Collections Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Collectors Circle is a membership group that provides opportunities for in-depth, exclusive experiences with art and provides the primary source of funds for KMA collection purchases.
Do I have to be an art collector to belong to Collectors Circle?
Absolutely not! Members range from aspiring collectors and art enthusiasts to those who simply want to support the museum’s art collection.
What does Collectors Circle do?
Members explore the inner workings of the art world and learn directly from the actual works of art, the artists who create them, the art experts who interpret them, and the people who collect art. Before the current pandemic, Collectors Circle members visited important art destinations, private collections, and artists’ studios locally and nationally to gain a broad perspective on today’s art world. Until it is safe to meet in person, CC members will be offered this same variety of exclusive art experiences in virtual form, including being able to vote on works to purchase for the KMA at the annual Purchase Reception. Trips (when deemed safe) are guided by our curators, who are well versed in their fields and care that you get the most out of your experiences. Past destinations include San Francisco, Atlanta, Santa Fe, New Orleans, Charleston, Houston, Chicago, New York, and, most recently, Napa Valley. Because the travel groups are generally small (25-30 people), members interact comfortably with others who share a passion for art and learning. Many Collectors Circle members have commented that these trips are among their most memorable art and travel experiences.
How are Collectors Circle members involved in the development of the KMA’s collection?
Most years, members review selected art works the museum has targeted as potential acquisitions, then vote on which work(s) to purchase for the KMA. Display labels for all acquired works thereafter bear the following note of recognition: “Purchased with funds provided by the KMA’s Collectors Circle.” Since the group formed in the mid-1990s, it has funded the purchase of dozens of works of art for the KMA collection, and more recently has provided critical funding for masterworks by Knoxville artists Catherine Wiley and Beauford Delaney.
What does it cost to join Collectors Circle and how will my dues be used?
A regular KMA membership at the Fellow ($250) level is required to be eligible to join. The additional fee for membership in the Collectors Circle is $800 per couple or $500 per individual (renewable each year in August). Ninety percent of the membership fee is deposited in a restricted art acquisitions fund. The remainder is used for Collectors Circle operation expenses.
Becoming a member of Collectors Circle allows you to sign up in July with the option of choosing the month you will pay your membership dues. You can also choose to pay in two installments. Confirming financial commitments at the beginning of the year enables us to make trip deposits and determine with sufficient lead time the funds available for museum art purchases.
We hope you will choose to become a member!