The MIA's internationally acclaimed collection of paintings contains nearly 900 European and American works from the fourteenth century to the present. It offers a comprehensive survey of both celebrated schools and individual artists and is notable for its concentration of masterworks.
One of the museum’s earliest acquisitions was Gustave Courbet’s Deer in a Forest, which St. Paul railroad magnate James J. Hill donated in 1914. Hill’s collection of nineteenth-century French Romantic and Realist art was exceptional. Many of his most important pictures, including Eugène Delacroix’s The Fanatics of Tangier, were given or bequeathed to the MIA by his descendants.
The present paintings collection has been expanded in varied and often delightfully unpredictable ways by a succession of astute trustees, donors, directors, and curators. It includes Claude Lorrain’s Pastoral Landscape of 1638, Nicolas Poussin’s Death of Germanicus of 1627, and Rembrandt van Rijn’s Lucretia of 1666. In addition to many wonderful French nineteenth-century pictures, the museum has rich holdings of Italian Baroque, seventeenth-century Dutch, and Fauve, Cubist, and German Expressionist works. The American collection showcases a range of artistic accomplishments from Gilbert Stuart to Larry Rivers and contains exceptional paintings by John Singer Sargent and Georgia O’Keeffe.