Since its founding, the Morris Museum of Art has been a very active collector. The museum’s collection was built upon a foundation established in 1989, when William S. Morris III purchased 230 paintings from Dr. Robert Powell Coggins, a vastly informed and purposeful collector who had assembled a museum-quality collection of Southern art over twenty-five years. Not long after that transaction, Coggins died. In his will, he directed nearly one thousand additional works of art to the Morris Museum. Now, twenty-eight years later, the Coggins holdings still make up nearly twenty-five percent of the museum’s permanent collection.
The present exhibition emphasizes work acquired in the recent past, including landscape paintings by Max Weyl, De Lancey Walker Gill, and Ellen Axson Wilson, as well as more contemporary paintings by Rolland Golden, Steffen Thomas, Vincencia Blount, and Edward Kellogg and sculpture by Anita Huffington and Roger Dane. There are entirely new areas of collecting interest revealed here, including pottery and studio art glass. Remarkably, nearly all of these additions to the permanent collection are gifts. And that reflects yet another new set of supportive friendships, including those of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman, Hathia and Andy Hayes, the family of Steffen Thomas, and many others.