The Museum's Collection of European Art comprises painting, sculpture, and works on paper from 1300 to 1945 and encompasses all of the major artistic movements from the Renaissance through Impressionism and Modernism.
Works created before 1850 provide fine examples of religious and mythological painting, portraiture, landscape, and still life. In 2006, Valerie Delacorte, a Hungarian film star who later became a philanthropist, transformed the European Collection with her gift of more than 60 paintings and works on paper, primarily from the 17th and 18th centuries. Important Renaissance and Baroque artists represented include Lucas Cranach the Elder, Ludovico Carracci, and Peter Paul Rubens. The 18th century is represented by painters like Horace Vernet and Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and sculptors Guillaume Coustou the Younger and Bartolommeo Cavaceppi.
The early Modern period begins with Realist, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist canvases by Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, and Paul Gauguin. The Modern Collection contains work from every important movement and is replete with significant paintings and sculpture by Constantin Brancusi, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Chaim Soutine, among others. The collection of works on paper spans more than five centuries, from the earliest soft-metal cuts to prints and drawings by young living artists.
The collection of works on paper has benefited from a significant gift of prints and support from David J. Patten. The extensive holdings of watercolors reflect a special passion of founder Ralph Norton.