Collections

The Berman Museum of Art houses over eight thousand pieces in its permanent collection as well as almost 80 sculptures in its outdoor sculpture collection.

Our permanent collection is particularly strong in Pennsylvania German material culture and works on paper from the 16th century to today. The Berman is also a locus for the study of Françoise Gilot’s life and work, as it is the home of her personal archives and over 270 pieces of her work.

 

The Berman Museum is distinctive for its stewardship of the sculptures on the Ursinus College campus, integrating art into the lives of the Ursinus community.

 

History of the Collection

Philip and Muriel Berman humanized the collecting process in the way that they lived with their art: paintings and sculptures were an everyday presence throughout their home. They shared their collections with numerous institutions and believed that by exposing students to art they would make clear the importance of art to a fully lived life.

In 1958, the couple established the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and ten years later they made their first gift of artwork to Ursinus: 28 Japanese prints in support of the Centennial Campaign.

The Bermans gifted their first outdoor sculpture to Ursinus several years later, in 1980: Glenn Zweygardt’s Upheaval II and Bearkeeper. These two sculptures are still on display along with nearly 80 other outdoor sculptures found throughout the college campus.

The Bermans continued to gift artworks to the college over the next few years, and in 1986, a formal partnership between the Bermans and Ursinus was established, designed to promote and institute the fine arts at the college. Discussions of establishing a fine arts museum for the growing art collection began, and in 1989 the Berman Museum of Art opened in what had previously been the Alumni Memorial Library.

With the establishment of the museum came a large donation of works from Philip and Muriel Berman’s private collection. This gift, combined with the previously existing artwork holdings at Ursinus College, served as a foundation and basis of the museum’s permanent collection. Today, the museum’s permanent collection is comprised of more than 8,000 objects.

The Berman Museum’s collection has continued to expand, due largely to the generosity of a growing group of donors. Th collection now includes significant holdings in contemporary prints, paintings, and sculpture; 19 th - and 20 th -century American and European art; Pennsylvania German Fraktur and material culture; Japanese prints; and a growing collection of photography. Highlights include over 270 works and the personal archive of Françoise Gilot, and over 160 sculptures by British artist Lynn Chadwick.

The museum’s eclectic collection is an important resource for teaching and outreach to both college and community audiences. Ensuring the integrity, preservation, and interpretation of these artworks and artifacts for subsequent generations is an ongoing responsibility sustained in public trust.

Rights and Reproduction

For permission to reproduce images of artworks from the Berman Museum’s collection, please download and review our Rights, Reproductions, and Permissions Policy document.

 

Art Donation Guidelines

The Berman actively considers objects for accession that:

  • Support the museum’s mission and scope of collecting.
  • Are of artistic merit and museum quality.
  • Have a clear and legal title.
  • Possess satisfactory provenance.
  • Will contribute to our collection’s development and programmatic objectives.

Inquire about donating art

Recent Acquisitions

Original Artist Donations

Chuck Kelton (American, b. 1952), gifted View Not From a Window #261, gelatin silver chemogram, photogram on photo paper, 2018. The piece was featured in the exhibition “Folds” at the Berman Museum in Spring 2021.

Barbara J. Zucker, UC’66 (American, b. 1940) gifted Western Island: Early Morning Clouds, triptych, acrylic on three canvases, 2008; and Topiaries: Form and Shadow, Diptych, diptych, acrylic on two canvases, 1999. The two paintings add to the Berman’s over 40 works by Zucker, an emeritus faculty member of Ursinus College.

Katie Merz (American, b. 1961) gifted Ursinus, oil stick on paper, 2020; and Read, oil stick on paper, 2020. The two drawings relate to the execution of a major painting on the Ursinus College smokestack, a chronicle of symbols and images garnered from conversations with members of the Ursinus class of 2020. The smokestack serves as an homage to students’ resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will be used as a text for the interdisciplinary course taught under the college’s Common Intellectual Experience program.

Czubaroff Donation

A prized collection of over 120 Old Master prints was gifted by Jeanine and Val Czubaroff in December 2021, featuring work by Albrecht Dürer, Giovani Battista Piranesi, Hendrik Goltzius, Eugene Delacroix, and Francesco Goya, among many other major figures in 17-19th century printmaking. Jeanine Czubaroff is Professor Emerita of Communications at Ursinus College and valued the opportunity to use Berman Museum of Art collection resources to enhance her teaching and curriculum throughout her career as an educator. She and her husband Val built their collection over 40 years of research and exploration. Their gift will ensure the objects they prized will continue to be studied, exhibited, and utilized as a vital educational tool.

Gordon Donation

Mark W. Gordon ’64 and his wife, SandiJo Gordon, Miami-based collectors of contemporary American art, Latin American prints, and Artist books, gifted Untitled, a bold and colorful sculpture by Dorothy Gillespie (American, 1920-2012). This work adds to a growing presence of women artists represented in the museum’s holdings.

Jones Donation

A rare drypoint etching by Mary Cassatt (American, 1844-1926) was gifted by Michael Jones. The Mirror, c. 1891, is a rendering of a mother and child, a consistent motif for Cassatt. The poignant depiction of a protective embrace is captured as a front and verso reflection.

Rishel/d’Harnoncourt Estate Donation

The Berman Museum of Art has enjoyed a close working relationship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art because of the tremendous efforts of our founders, Philip and Muriel Berman, who served both museums in leadership and philanthropic roles. The estate of Joseph J. Rishel (1940-2020), Senior Curator of European Art at the PMA from 1971-2016, and Anne d’Harnoncourt (1943-2008), Director/CEO of the PMA from 1982-2008, has gifted seventeen original lithographs, etchings, and signed fine art posters from the Rishel/d’Harnoncourt personal collection. Artists represented include Claes Oldenburg (Swedish/American, b. 1929), Jasper Johns (American, b. 1930), Elizabeth Murray (American, 1940-2007), Alex Katz (American, b. 1927), and Red Grooms (American, b. 1937).

Williams Donation

Photographer and collector William E. Williams, Professor of Humanities and Curator of Photography at Haverford College, has donated a substantial series of photographs to the museum over the past 20 years. His most recent contributions include Early Morn, photogravure, c. 1900, by Alfred Stieglitz; and Portrait of Paul Henreid, tri-carbro color print, c. 1940s, by Lee Elkins and Cline.

Yoakum Donation

Mel Yoakum, Ph.D. continues to direct original prints and preparatory materials by renowned artist Françoise Gilot (French/American, b. 1921) to the Berman’s extensive holdings of Gilot’s work. With this most recent donation, Yoakum gifted rare photographs by Jacques Beurdeley (French, 1874-1934), Geof Kern (American, b. 1950), and Edmond Gilot (French, 1856-1911), and a photorealist canvas entitled Lost Buttons by Antonios Aspromourgos (Greek, b. 1968).