The Museum’s collection of American paintings, sculpture, and works on paper contains approximately 1,000 works of art dating from the 18th century to 1960. The institution’s founder, Ralph Norton, began by collecting American art, and his holdings still form the core of his Museum’s collection today. Norton was passionate about the art of his time – the first half of the 20th century – so the collection is particularly strong in that area. He acquired major oil paintings by George Bellows, Charles Demuth, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Motherwell, and Charles Sheeler; sculptures by Paul Manship, Theodore Roszak, and William Zorach; and watercolors by Charles Burchfield, Winslow Homer, and John Marin, among many others.

Significant acquisitions after Norton’s death in 1953 include the purchases of Stuart Davis’ 1932 painting New York Mural and Jackson Pollock’s 1945 canvas Night Mist as well as a gift of 19 paintings from Elsie and Marvin Dekelboum in 2005. Since 2014, a number of significant American art acquisitions have been made through the generosity of the Museum’s Friends of American Art.

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​Ellen E. Roberts​

Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art​
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​Ellen E. Roberts​

Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art​
(561) 832-5196​​ x1144

Ellen E. Roberts has been the Museum’s Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art  since December 2012. At the Norton, she has curated six exhibitions, including Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture (2018), O’Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists in New York (2016), and Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the Transformation of New York’s Rivers (2014), as well as six reinstallations of the American Collection. Future projects include a book on Museum founder Ralph Norton, an exhibition of his superb collection of watercolors, and the exhibition Art on the Left, from Progressivism to McCarthyism. Roberts has published extensively during her tenure at the Norton, and in her previous role as Associate Curator of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she co-authored collections catalogues on American Modernism and American Impressionism, and co-curated exhibitions on Edward Hopper, the Arts and Crafts movement, food and American painting, and Frank Lloyd Wright and Japanese art. She has a Ph.D. in Art History from Boston University.

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