Presented on the occasion of the Benton Museum of Art’s inaugural season, In Our Care explores the evolution of Pomona College’s art collection and the individuals who contributed to it.
In the late 1920s, Pomona College began maintaining an art collection—a practice sparked by a large gift of Native American art objects donated by Jonathan Tibbet. In 1930, the College commissioned Prometheus, the first mural completed by José Clemente Orozco in the United States. In successive decades, the collection grew through further gifts of Native American art, Italian Renaissance paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in 1961, first edition Francisco Goya prints given by Norton Simon in 1974, and other site-specific commissioned works.
As the College’s activity as a leading center for innovative studio art gained momentum, its art collection grew to include work by such Pomona students and faculty as Karl Benjamin, Chris Burden ’69, Judy Fiskin ’66, Marcia Hafif ’51, Frederick Hammersley, Helen Pashgian ‘56, Peter Shelton ’73, and James Turrell ’65, among others. Faculty and student research interests have also informed the growth of the collection, which now includes deep holdings in nineteenth- and twentieth-century photography as well as prints by June Wayne and the Guerilla Girls collective, and graphic art and sculpture by the visual poet Mirella Bentivoglio.
In Our Care is rooted in this illustrious history and features notable collectors, artists, and works that have built the museum’s collection into what it is today. Particular areas of depth are represented through selected examples of Native American basketry and textiles; Mexican paintings by Dr. Atl and Alfredo Ramos Martínez; European paintings and prints, including Goya’s Disparates print series and a still life by the German Expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner; and works in various media produced in Southern California in the late twentieth century.