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Collections

On the Collections homepage, you can choose to view a selection of objects illustrating particular themes, aspects of the collection, highlights of a particular time period or curators' choices. You can name these groupings in order to indicate clearly the type of works or themes that the collection illustrates. The groupings are listed as a series of links under "Collections" in the main navigation bar to the left.

The Harn Museum’s African Collection includes works that illuminate the diversity and historical depth of Sub-Saharan African art. The Harn collection is distinctive in the strength of its holdings that include a broad range of geographic regions, media and historical periods, ranging from the 5th century BCE to the 21st century. A diverse array of media are represented, including wood sculpture, textiles, ceramics, leatherwork, beadwork, metalwork, and painting. Wooden sculpture, primarily masks and figures are an early and important part of the collection. The collection has representative objects from many ethnic groups within West, Central, South and East Africa, with particular focus on West African Art.
Ancient American objects in the collection are primarily from Mesoamerica, Central America and the Central Andes. There is a strong collection of West Mexican ceramic figures from Nayarit, Colima and Jalisco areas. Other Mesoamerican works include a small Olmec head, Mayan ceramic vessels and jade adornments, and a small collection of Maya stucco portrait heads. The Harn also has a small collection of Toltec and Zapotec ceramics and two Aztec stone feathered serpents. Central American objects, mainly from Costa Rica, include a collection of ceramic vessels, whistles, grinding stones and jade adornments.

The Andean collection includes objects from Moche, Chavin and Chimu cultures of the North Coastal area , and Inca and Nazca from the Southern Coast. Most notable among these are polychrome ceramics and textiles. The museum also has a collection of Taino stone, ceramic and coral sculpture from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
With more than 2,000 works, the Harn’s Asian art collection spans a timeframe ranging from the Neolithic period through cutting-edge contemporary art. It covers a vast geographic distribution area, from central Asia in the west to Japan in the east, and from China in the north to the southernmost points of India and Southeast Asia. The strengths of the collection are evident in ceramics, jades, and metal works and are further augmented by stone sculptures, paintings, and prints. The variety and quality of the works provide the opportunity to explore regional and transnational trends in Asian art, ranging from ceramic traditions to the spread of Buddhism to the relationships between Asia and the West via artistic visions and creations.
The Contemporary Collection encompasses international art in all media created between 1945 and the present. The collection holds nearly 1,500 objects with exemplary works from major contemporary art movements and recent works by emerging artists from around the world. The collection presented in thematic exhibitions displayed in the expansive Mary Ann Harn Cofrin Pavilion and the adjacent Bob and Nancy Magoon Garden. Global in perspective, the collection focuses on the dominant issue and ideas in contemporary art practice. Thematic currents in the collection include subjects and psychological approaches, an emphasis on social and political conditions, a concentration on materials and process, and conceptual modes of practice.
The Modern Collection comprises nearly 1,000 works of art spanning the mid-19th century through the first half of the 20th century. The collection is divided into three areas-American art, European art, and Latin American art-and includes paintings, sculpture, and prints and drawings. A major strength of the modern collection is its representation of American art, especially landscapes, urban themes, social realist themes and WPA prints. These works represent many significant movements in American art such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, early Modernism, Geometric Abstraction, Urban and Social Realism, and Regionalism. The Museum's collection of Latin American art is small yet growing and represents artists from Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Guatemala, Brazil and Puerto Rico. Holdings of European art include stellar examples of paintings, sculpture and prints representing France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
The Oceanic collection includes objects from Melanesia, primarily various regions of Papua New Guinea. Most are 20th century objects from the Sepik River region. Several ethnic groups are represented including Iatmul, Abelam and Sawos among others. Object types include masks, headdresses, figurative sculpture, canoe prows, costumes, vessels, shields, tools, stools, architectural elements, and objects for personal adornment. Two notable works from New Ireland include Malangan area objects, a boar mask and a tatanua mask.
The Photography collection covers a broad spectrum of work from 19th century daguerreotypes to large-scale contemporary color prints. A major strength of the collection is the in-depth representation of works by Jerry Uelsmann, the innovative experimenter who established the University of Florida as a center for photographic studies. The collection also features numerous other leading artists and educators who have either taught or been a student at UF including Robert Fichter, Todd Walker, William Parker, Evon Streetman, Doug Prince, Bea Nettles, Sergio Vega, Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, and others.

The Harn’s collection began with the University Gallery’s acquisition of important works by noted photographers including Robert Frank, Irving Penn, Wynn Bullock and Minor White, but photography has become a collecting focus only in recent years with the 2002-2004 acquisitions of works by diverse influential contemporary artists such as Rineke Dijkstra, Cindy Sherman and Alan Sekula. The goal to build on the strengths of these contemporary works and represent key photographers in increased depth has begun to take shape. The Harn recently acquired 75 photographs by Brazilian artist Sebastião Salgado and over 20 works depicting celebrities and nudes by Len Prince in collaboration with Jessie Mann.
The Prints and Drawings Collection includes more than 200 works dated from the late Middle Ages through the mid-19th century representing artists from England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. Special highlights include Michael Wolgemut’s woodcut from the illustrated world history, the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), Theodor de Bry’s engravings for Brief Narration of Europeans in Florida (1591), and Henry Fuseli’s c. 1818 drawing based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Additional prints of special importance include woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer; mythological subjects by Agostino Carracci and Salvator Rosa; subjects drawn from contemporary life by Jacques Callot and Anthony van Dyck; and satirical prints by Francisco Goya, William Hogarth and Honoré Daumier. The Prints and Drawings Collection also includes a strong representation of naturalist and botanical prints dated c. 1550-1850. These include important works by John James Audubon, Leonhart Fuchs, John Gould, Maria Sibylla Merian, and Pierre-Joseph Redouté, among other artists. Prints and drawings dated after 1850 are housed in the Modern, Contemporary and Asian collections.
In the interests of improving the collection and maintaining its high intellectual and aesthetic standards, the Museum periodically evaluates its collection to identify candidates for deaccessioning (e.g. sale, transfer, or exchange). Deaccessioning is guided by the Museum’s long-term policies and goals and should not reflect the popular trends of a given period or the personal tastes of the people involved. Proposals for deaccessioning objects from the Museum collection originate with the Director and curatorial staff and are reviewed and approved by the Provost-appointed Committee on the Collections.

The criteria applied to deaccessioning and disposal are as stringent as those applied to the Museum’s acquisition process, and reflect the professional standards and ethics as established by the Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Association of Museums. Criteria that justify deaccessioning an object include lack of art historical importance, low aesthetic quality, redundancy, lack of conformity to the Museum’s declared collecting interests, and poor physical condition. All income generated through the sale of deaccessioned works of art will be reapplied towards the purchase of new works of art.

These efforts will allow the Museum to exchange select objects for others believed by the Director and curatorial leadership to be better aligned with its mission. Please see the link on the left menu at the top of the page titled "View Deaccessioned Artwork" for a list of works of art recently sold, transferred or exchanged, as well as deaccessioned works awaiting sale, transfer, or exchange.