Art Collection

University of
Northern Iowa THE UNIVERSITY of Northern Iowa’s Permanent Art Collection is dedicated to serving the community, artists, and students of Cedar Falls and the surrounding areas and has been since collecting began in 1935. After the new facility was built in 1985, the directors and curators of the Gallery and UNI Permanent Art Collection continued to promote the Collection by working together to publicly display them in the exhibition space. Based largely on donations, the Permanent Art Collection has become a rich assortment of prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture that spans over 700 years, from the late 13th century to the present.

While the Permanent Art Collection has been available to the community and the students of Northern Iowa, research has been limited to those who know the pieces and have made arrangements to view them. I have, therefore, curated this online exhibition for two reasons: one, to promote knowledge of our rich resources to be shared with a larger community of museums, researchers, students, and art lovers; and two, to publicly acknowledge our generous donors for their contributions while displaying these new acquisitions and other works online.

The focus of this first online exhibition is to highlight the unique diversity of our Collection here at the University of Northern Iowa. Proudly presenting fourteen nationalities in this show, the oldest piece shown is a French illuminated vellum leaf from a medieval manuscript. Exquisitely detailed in gold leaf, the manuscript is double sided with Latin text and possesses several elaborately painted chapter letters, beautifully exemplifying the 13th century formal style. Sharply contrasting this piece is a Dieter Roth acquisition, the photographic image of a city, painted and mirrored on one side, showing the effect of spontaneity while addressing 1970s popular culture. 

This exhibition also features work by many other well-known artists in several mediums, including etchings by Pablo Picasso and Edgar Dégas, paintings by Jules Kirschenbaum and Juane Quick-To-See Smith, photographs by Barbara Morgan and Eugene Atget, and sculptures by Robert Arneson and William Zorach. The range of artistic styles emphasizes the richness of the UNI Permanent Art Collection, while each artist chosen demonstrates and exemplifies the mission of the Collection. My hope is to curate an exhibit which allows for a larger interest in our Collection at UNI while providing a deeper insight into the types of work we posses. Being able to share the Collection with others is the ultimate goal, and the exhibition has been created specifically for this sharing of knowledge and art. 

                                                                    —Kathryn Kelley, Curator contact calendar events exhibitions home collections publications opportunities