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PAFA acquires 13 works for its permanent collection, more than half by women

The academy continues to add works by women to its collection.

Marie Watts "Skywalker/Skyscraper (Allegory)," (2012), a fabric work recently acquired by PAFA.
Marie Watts "Skywalker/Skyscraper (Allegory)," (2012), a fabric work recently acquired by PAFA.Read morePhoto by Aaron Johansen

Building on its efforts in recent years to expand its acquisition of works by women and artists of color, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has announced that it has recently acquired 13 artworks, more than half by women.

“The museum is focused on expanding the breadth and depth of our permanent collection with works that reflect the diversity of voices across American art history,” museum director Brooke Davis Anderson said in a statement.

Self-Portraits (1985) by Catherine Murphy is a key acquisition — a double self-portrait in oil, depicting both Murphy and her nude husband, sculptor Harry Roseman, at work. The painting features the complex perspective and detail characteristic of Murphy’s work.

Jodi Throckmorton, PAFA’s curator of contemporary art, said that the acquisitions as a whole reflect “PAFA’s commitment to bringing work to our collection that is challenging conventions and shaping our conception of contemporary American art.”

The Murphy Self-Portraits was a purchase. PAFA declined to give the purchase price of any individual work, although a spokesman said the aggregate cost of all the purchases was about $220,000. The funds came from collections endowments and dedicated collections funds, according to a PAFA spokesman.

Other purchases include Elizabeth Colomba’s watercolor, Riding Places (2019); Maria Berrio’s collage, The Oracles’ Silence (2019); Arcmanoro Niles’ oil and acrylic Homesick for a Home I Never Had (2018); and Marie Watt’s large fabric piece, Skywalker/Skyscraper (Allegory) (2012).

PAFA also purchased two works by Jonathan Lyndon Chase, the first artist-in-residence at PAFA’s Brodsky Center of collaborative paper and printmaking. The first is a litho, Forehead Kiss (2018), the second a mixed media work, Hush (2019).

In addition to purchases, PAFA acquired a number of pieces as gifts, including Kenyon Cox’s 1905 Study of a Wild Goose, Stacy Lynn Waddell’s Golden Blue Island (2015), Senam Okudzeto’s Falling Down Red (2001), Neil Anderson’s Apollo 2 (2009), Chakaia Booker’s Impending Encounter (2008), and an untitled Martha Jackson Jarvis print executed in 1991.