Austin Peay State University Art Collection
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University Art Collections

The Permanent Collection is comprised of approximately 3000 pieces of very diverse art objects: paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, drawings and historical objects. Works in the collection are from various sources such as gifts made by individuals and families in the community, donations from visiting artists, purchases made recognizing student artists and notable regional artists, and purchase awards from the Border to Border Biennial National Drawing Exhibition that ran from 1981-2005.

The Permanent Collection also has several smaller collections representing how the art pieces joined the collection. Most notably: the Mabel Larson Drawing Collection, which include the drawings purchased from the Border to Border Biennial Drawing Exhibition and form the largest contemporary drawing collection in the region; The Robertson Collection, a collection of over 300 original photographs, donated by Jim and Nan Robertson, with pieces of historical value as well as examples of some of the finest art photographers in the world; The Folk Art Collection is a exceptional blend of folk and outsider art with the majority of pieces donated by Ned and Jacqueline Crouch and the Trahern family.

Some of the highlights of the collection include the work of William Edmondson, E.T. Wickham, Romare Bearden, Fransisco Goya, Bill Brandt, André Kertisz, Joseph Legrose, the Kolb Brothers, Karl Struss, William Eggleston, Edward Weston, and John Francis Strauss.

Trahern Edmondson Sculptures

Mabel Larson Gallery is the home to three very unique pieces by William Edmondson, donated by Dr. Joseph Trahern Jr. Edmondson was a self taught folk artist from Tennessee who lived from 1847-1951. He gained prominence late in his career for his raw, primitive style, although he remained modest throughout his career, attributing his drive to complete art and his talent to God. Most prominent among his many honors is his solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the first show featuring the work of an African American artist.  MoMA Edmondson Press Release 1937

Ned and Jacqueline Crouch Collection

This large folk art collection donated in Fall of 2012 by Ned and Jacqueline Crouch includes many media, from sculptures and woodwork to paintings and drawings, this collection features works from such artists as William Edmondson, Herbert Baggot, E.T. Wickham, and Miles Smith. 

Robertson Collection

The Robertson Collection is a collection of over 300 magnificent photographs donated to the University by Jim and Nan Robertson. Nan Robertson was herself a talented art student who studied in Arizona in the 1970s and ‘80s. Jim owned the Fifth Avenue Gallery of Photography in Scottsdale, Ariz., which brought him into contact with such distinguished artists as Bill Brandt and Bruce Barnbaum. Since moving to Dover, Tenn., the couple has been adamant about sharing their passion with the University. The donation gave the University one of the most impressive photography collections in the region. Some of the pieces are currently on display in the Honors Commons and the Faculty Lounge in the University Center.