Pittsburgh Collects

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

February 20 – April 25, 1993

500 SL #5


Oil on linen

67 x 70 inches; 170.2 x 177.8 cm

Art collecting in Pittsburgh has a distinguished history. In celebration, Pittsburgh Collects presents works from local private and corporate collections with related works from The Carnegie Museum of Art. The exhibition's focus on contemporary art is a tribute to the Museum's founder, whose enthusiasm for the art of his time determined the shape of The Carnegie's collection. Subsequent exposure to the long succession of International exhibitions has educated the visual memory of the city, and as a symbiotic consensus develops between collector and museum, both benefit. 


The precise moment that acquisitions become a collection is difficult to pinpoint. The metamorphosis begins with the realization that others will see and analyze the fruits of our accumulating instincts. Impetuosity then yields to considerations of worth and appropriateness as acquisitive zeal assumes nobler dimensions: provenance, quality, and comparative value. When the latter increases, a seriousness of purpose emerges that ultimately converts a few things into that autonomous entity -- "the collection." 

While this process is often inadvertent among individuals, it is a conscious one for institutions one that reflects a collaborative and sustained effort. Guided by successive directors and curators, the institution's collection is an assembly of donations and purchases, which represents a communal legacy. In turn, the Museum's principal responsibility is to preserve and present objects for public delight, to be a site for thought and pleasure. 


In this instance, an array of temporary loans allows the Museum to share otherwise private resources with a wide audience. Chronologically presented, Pittsburgh Collects is a large free-ranging survey of the last fifty years of European and American art that reflects a history of collecting in Pittsburgh and suggests future patronage.