University Art Collection
The University Galleries oversee a collection of approximately 3,400 objects ranging from Walt Disney animation cells to outdoor sculpture, contemporary prints, and African and Oceanic art. The collection dates back to the founding of William Paterson University, which was established in 1855 as a teacher’s college in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. The college moved to Wayne in 1951 and acquired the estate of Garret Hobart, including the family’s historic home, Hobart Manor, and some of its nineteenth century furnishings and decorative arts. From the period 1959-1968, the University received the Jean and S. Paul Boochever Art Collection, which includes several significant nineteenth century paintings by artists such as Willard Leroy Metcalf and Edwin Lord Weeks. In more recent decades, the Galleries have received donations of artwork created by WPU faculty and students; these works are testament to the University’s educational mission. The University has also acquired donations of large-scale outdoor sculpture by internationally known contemporary artists. In 1998, the University acquired the Joan and Gordon Tobias Collection of African and Oceanic Art. In 1999, the University’s collection of artists’ books was established as part of an exhibit curated by the international expert on artists’ books, Amy Baker Sandback. The collection includes over 400 one-of-a-kind or limited edition books created by national and international artists from 1960 to the present.
The collection is often the basis for thematic exhibitions and serves as a study and research resource for William Paterson University students, faculty, staff, scholars, and the public. On the whole, this wide-ranging collection provides a historical context that informs the exhibitions program, which primarily focuses on contemporary art.