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The permanent collection includes nearly 11,000 objects, among them, approximately 8,000 works of art on paper, 1,400 photographs, 900 paintings, and 300 sculptures, ranging across many historical periods, cultures, and mediums.
Herbert Mayer Collection

The arts space that would become the Picker Art Gallery opened in 1966 with a large gift by Herbert A. Mayer ’29. The works of art he gave to Colgate reflect the international scope of the exhibitions held at Mayer’s World House Galleries (1957–66) in New York City. Over time, the Picker’s collection has been supplemented by generous gifts by alumni, faculty, and friends.

The Herbert Mayer Collection offers an exceptional survey of the mid-twentieth century international art world through works of art created by hundreds of artists from around the globe. Herbert Mayer, a member of the Colgate class of 1929, turned an early interest in the arts into a business when he opened the World House Galleries in New York in 1957. He brought a global focus to the New York contemporary art scene and showed the work of international artists, both those of established reputation and younger artists making their mark abroad. 

Between 1966, when the World House Galleries closed, and continuing through 1984, Mayer made a number of substantial gifts to the Picker Art Gallery, including more than 550 paintings, 500 drawings, 100 prints, and art in other mediums from the World House inventory and his private collection. Objects given by Mayer include works by well-known artists such as Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Klee, along with works by artists who, although unrecognized in the United States, were leaders of postwar artistic developments in Europe and Latin America.

Dr. Luther W. Brady Collection

For more than a quarter of a century, Luther W. Brady, M.D., H’88, has been donating works of European and American art to Colgate University. A renowned radiation oncologist in Philadelphia, Brady is an active philanthropist and patron of the arts. His involvement with Colgate began with his gift of the sculpture Sunset by Eric Ryan. Brady donated that work—now permanently installed in the Eric Ryan Studio Center on campus—in memory of the artist, who was his friend and a beloved member of the Colgate Fine Arts faculty. 

To date, Brady has given seventy-nine objects in various media to the Picker Art Gallery, and has placed a similar number here as deferred gifts.  Ranging in scope from Baroque paintings to modern and contemporary prints and drawings, the Brady Collection is particularly strong in mid-century modernism—especially Abstract Expressionism and its successors.

Yevgeny Khaldei Photography Collection

The Ukranian-born Jewish photographer Yevgeny Khaldei is credited with many iconic images of World War II. The Soviet news agency TASS assigned him to cover the Red Army’s operations in central Europe, the Potsdam conference, and the Nuremburg trials. Khaldei donated almost 100 photographs to Colgate students and faculty during his first visit to the United States in 1995.

Herman Collection of Modern Chinese Woodcuts

The Herman Collection of Modern Chinese Woodcuts is unparalleled in the United States. It includes more than 200 prints made in China during the 1930s and 1940s. As historical documents, the prints offer a unique perspective on World War II, referred to in China as the Anti-Japanese War (1937–1945), and especially on the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists (1946–1949). At the same time, the prints represent the mastery of a new medium and the first flourishing of the modern Chinese woodcut movement, with works by Li Hua, Wang Renfeng, and Yan Han, among others.

The prints were brought to the United States in 1948 by Theodore Herman, former Colgate professor and founder of the university’s Peace and Conflict Studies Program. He and his wife, Evelyn Chen Shi-ying, donated the prints to the Picker Art Gallery along with other objects from their collection of Chinese art. The Herman Collection of Chinese Woodcuts is one of only four such collections outside of China.