The fine arts collection at Bryn Mawr spans all media including painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, and sculpture. The majority of the collection is housed in collections study areas, where works are available for classes and research by students, faculty, and outside scholars. Selected works from the fine arts collection are displayed in college buildings.
The painting collection of approximately 250 works is primarily composed of 19th- and 20th-century American and European works. Highlights of the collection include John Singer Sargent’s 1899 portrait of Bryn Mawr President M. Carey Thomas, which was awarded the Grand Prix at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900. The collection includes paintings by Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, Violet Oakley, and members of the “Philadelphia Ten,” a group of women artists active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The print collection illustrates the history of Western printmaking from the 15th through the mid-20th centuries and includes Old Master prints, art prints, and examples of 19th-century book illustrations. Artists represented include Albrecht Dürer, Hendrick Goltzius, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya, Mary Cassatt, and Pablo Picasso, among others. The collection also includes Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
The drawing collection includes both preliminary draft work as well as drawings that are finished works of art. Strengths of the collection include British watercolors and drawings of the 18th and 19th centuries; pastels by 20th-century Philadelphia artist Hobson Pittman; and the William and Uytendale Scott Collection of Works on Paper by Women Artists, a collection of more than 300 works by contemporary women artists.
The photography collection includes a cross section of major photographic processes from 19th-century daguerreotypes to 20th-century silver gelatin prints and cibachromes, as well as a wide variety of photographic formats such as stereo cards, cabinet cards, print series, albums, and early optical devices. Photographers represented in the collection include: Felix Bonfils, Adolphe Braun, Carlo Ponti, Francis Frith, William Henry Jackson, Frederick M. Evans, Eugène Atget, and Walker Evans.
The sculpture collection comprises outdoor sculptures, honorary busts, and a small number of medieval sculptures. Also included in the collection are reproductions of classical sculptures, which are displayed in Carpenter Library, and a collection of several hundred plaster casts of Late Antique, Medieval and Renaissances ivories.