Most of the Permanent Collection consists of 20th century works of art on paper (prints, drawings and photographs), but also includes contemporary paintings and sculpture.
Through the generosity of several benefactors, the Permanent Collection has grown to over 1,000 art objects. Northern Illinois University received its first large donation of artwork from Melvin Pfaelzer in the mid 1970s. Other major donations have come from Dr. and Mrs. E. Daniel Albrecht and the David and Sarajean Ruttenberg Foundation. Recently, a generous donation of Asian art was made to NIU by the Richard F. Grott Family. A catalog for each of these sizable artwork donations is detailed on our publication page.
In 2006, we became aware of the Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal, an initiative which seeks to reunite artworks that may have been looted during the Nazi era with their rightful owners. The NIU Art Museum supports this initiative, and has begun to research the provenance (chain of ownership) of objects in our collection which may have been in Europe at that time. Data on pieces in the NIU Art Museum collection can be found by following the above link.
Art to Lend Program
Through the NIU Art Museum Collection Rental program, selected pieces from the permanent collection are available for rental to campus offices at NIU.
Read more about Art to Lend.