Since the collection’s inception in 1968 European and American painting, sculpture, and works of art on paper have provided a central focus of collection activity.
Among the highlights of the early European collection is a French mid-fourteenth-century ivory depicting the Nativity and the Crucifixion. The recent acquisition of an early fifteenth-century Florentine panel attributed to Lippo d’Andrea shows an enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by saints in a composition typical of late medieval, early Renaissance art. The late-seventeenth-century terracotta relief sculpture of The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa of Avila, by Tommaso Amantini, a close follower of Bernini, brings a stellar and vivid example of Baroque art into view. Other works of similar significance are a portrait by Govaert Flinck, a student of Rembrandt, as well as three etchings from the 1630s by Rembrandt himself. In addition to prints by Piranesi, Durer, and Goya, the collection includes a lithograph of Manet’s Execution of the Emperor Maximilian. Among the holdings of European sculpture of the nineteenth century are portrait busts and idealized heads by Rude, Carpeaux, Falguiere, and Dalou, as well as Rosso’s piquant wax sculpture Bimbo Malato (Sick Child).
Holdings of American art include William Jennys’s portrait of Middlebury College founder Gamaliel Painter (c. 1805) and Peter Pelham’s (after John Smibert) portrait of The Reverend Henry Caner (1750). The collection also includes fine landscape paintings by John Frederick Kensett, Jasper Cropsey, and Frederic Edwin Church. A rare metal sculpture by Clark Mills representing General (later President) Andrew Jackson on horseback (c. 1855), as well as an unusual inkwell depicting an equestrian subject by William Rimmer, are also of note.