DePaul Art Museum > Collection > Strengths & Vision

Strengths & Vision

Strengths of the DPAM Collection

DePaul Art Museum’s collection has grown substantially since 1972 when the University’s Women’s Board initiated an “Art for DePaul” drive to celebrate the University’s 75th anniversary. Over 67 etchings, watercolors, drawings, and paintings began the collection.

Today, DePaul Art Museum’s permanent collection boasts approximately 3,500 objects and growing. Our artworks and the artists represented vary widely in geographic region, hailing from Chicago to Cameroon. And, with a range of media including painting, drawing, prints, photography, and sculpture, the earliest work in the collection is a 16th century painting of the Madonna and Child and the most recent painting is from 2017.

Our biggest strength and the continued goal of the collection is our focus on modern and contemporary artists, particularly those with a direct connection to Chicago. To this end, we have quite a number of holdings from the Monster Roster and Chicago Imagists, like Roger Brown and Christina Ramberg, many photographs from Institute of Design artists like Barbara Crane and Yasuhiro Ishimoto, and other modern and contemporary Chicago artists, such as Julia Thecla, Edgar Miller, Chris Ware, Candida Alvarez, Magalie Guerin, Paul D’Amato, Dawoud Bey, Susan Giles, and many more.

The collection is eclectic and international in scope, with work form North America, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, primarily from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The subject matter varies, but many are politically-oriented artworks, grounding the collection in the university’s mission of social justice.

Vision of the DPAM Collection

DePaul Art Museum’s permanent collection aims to promote new perspectives and histories in the visual arts, in order to expand the art historical canon. The museum endeavors to be the leading institution for providing accessibility to preeminent works of our time by Chicago artists to more fully represent the history of art in Chicago for current and future scholars and visitors.

With this goal in mind, the museum seeks to acquire exemplary examples of modern and contemporary works by:

  • Artists or subjects with a direct link to Chicago
  • Artists of color, including but not limited to: African or African-American artists, Latin American artists, Asian or Asian American artists, Native American artists, and Arab or Arab American artists
  • Women artists
  • LGBTQ+ artists

DPAM will continue to acquire works that help to fill art historical gaps in relationship to the wide breadth of concentrations already present in the collection, such as WPA-era prints, contemporary and traditional West and Central African objects, Chicago-centric architectural drawings, Institute of Design photography, and Eastern European graphic arts.

The overall vision is that the DePaul Art Museum permanent collection be used by:

  • future and current scholars for research and dialogue across disciplines
  • teachers and professors to promote the history of art, visual literacy, and object-based learning
  • museum staff and university faculty to further the mission and themes of DPAM’s exhibitions and public programming
  • broader Chicago publics for deepening their engagement with the city, its rich histories, and its multitudinous voices
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