Western’s Campus Sculpture Collection is nationally renowned, with important works by distinguished American and European sculptors of the late 20th century to the present. The collection American Works on Paper complements the sculpture collection with a strong survey of American artists of the post-war era. The Leese collection further extends the scope with 19th and 20th century prints and drawings by North American, European and Japanese artists. Other collections include a small selection of paintings by Northwest artists, a group of South-east Asian ceramics, small-scale sculptures, and a study collection of representative chairs by international 20th century designers. The collections are available to students, faculty, staff, and the public by appointment.
The University art collections include all works of art acquired by the Western Gallery and by any college/administrative unit by purchase from both state and restricted funds; purchases through capital building projects or percent for art monies for interior and exterior public sculpture; works acquired through contractual agreements with visiting artists; works from direct research/project grants; and all works by gift, donation, private grant or bequest through the Western Washington University Foundation for the Western Gallery and for the University's Art Collections. Strict procedures for acquisition, stewardship, and de-accessioning of artworks are detailed in the University Policy for Curating University Artwork.
Sited throughout the 10 acre campus, the collection includes works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Alice Aycock, Scott Burton, Anthony Caro, Nancy Holt, David Ireland, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Isamu Noguchi, Tom Otterness, Beverly Pepper, Ulrich Rückreim, Richard Serra, Do Ho Suh, Mark di Suvero, Joel Shapiro, George Trakas, and Meg Webster, to mention only a few of the 35 artists represented.
In 2010 Western Gallery received over 175 works in various media by Northwest artists as a gift from Safeco Insurance, a member of the Liberty Mutual Group, and the Washington Art Consortium. The collection comprises a large body of works by contemporary West Coast artists working in a variety of media, including photographs by Jim Ball, Jim Burns, Michael Burns, Victor Gardaya, Jim Laser; prints and drawings by Fay Chong, Art Hansen, Robert Bruce Inverarity; paintings by Richard Gilkey, Morris Graves, Stephen McClelland, Ambrose Patterson; and sculptures by Philip McCracken, Sonja Blomdhal, Fritz Dreisbach. Selections from these works are on public view in the main lobbies of the Performing Arts Center.
Works on Paper: American Art 1945 – 1975
“Works on Paper” was assembled in 1975 and 1976 by the collector Virginia Wright and gallerist Richard Bellamy. It consists of 97 works by 48 artists, including Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol. For forty years, the collection was owned collaboratively by a non-profit cooperation of seven museums. The Washington Art Consortium, which was founded by Ms. Wright, When the Consortium disbanded in 2017 the collection was gifted to Western Washington University.
Prints and Drawing Collections
The Collections are particularly strong on modernist and contemporary American and European artists., including works by acclaimed artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Käthe Kollwitz, Edouard Manet, Clarence Holbrook, Marc Tobey, Richard Correll, Charles Edward Heaney, Frank Weston Benson that represent twentieth-century Modernism.
Mary Randlett Collection
In addition to three nature photographs by Mary Randlett, Western Gallery holds 46 of her portraits of Northwest artists and thinkers. The series offers a precious and indelible documentation of the region’s intellectual and artistic life during a particularly creative period in the second half of the 20th century.
Following a number of individual gifts made by Al and Vera Leese from1995 on, their daughter Marian Leese Boylan gave her parents' extensive private collection to the Western Gallery upon their death in 2005. Boylan herself left her own collection of art to the gallery when she died in 2017. The Leese/Boylan Collection comprises American and European prints, drawings and paintings by modernist and contemporary artists, including Richard Anuszkiewicz, Willy Baumeister, Leon Bakst, Georges Braque, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Armin Landeck, Roberto Matta, Henry Moore, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Jacques Villon. In addition, the collection provides a substantial compendium of artworks by prominent Northwest artists, including Marc Tobey, Fay Chong, Paul Horiuchi and Wendell Wendell Brazeau. The Collection also includes a small number of Japanese prints from the 19th and 20th century.
Helen Loggie Archive
Western Gallery holds over 80 of Helen Loggie's intricate drawings and etchings of the flora and fauna of Washington State. Robert and Linda Frazier and Peggy Frances Frazier, members of the Loggie family, donated the majority of works in 1993. Additional donors to the archive include David B. Schaub, the George Keagle Estate, Barbara LaCasse and Robin Contratto.
The Chair Collection focuses on 20th century furniture created by international designers. The collection holds approximately 65 prime examples of chair design, ranging from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1980s. The collection originated in 1950 with Dr. Dorothy Ramsland, Professor of Home Economics and founder of the WWU Interior Design Academic major. Notable holdings include chairs designed by Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen, Hans Wegner, Aarne Jacobsen, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry and Maya Lin.