Renowned for its impressive collection of modern masterworks and outstanding contemporary objects, the modern and contemporary collection represents more than a century of artistic innovation. Encompassing over 12,500 works made since 1900, the museum’s collection includes works by such artistic luminaries as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as 33 paintings, drawings, and collages by the acclaimed abstract-expressionist Robert Motherwell. The collection also holds representative works from the major post-war art movements, including abstract expressionism, minimalism, pop art, conceptual art, and contemporary realism.
It is also home to the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive, a repository that counts over 8,000 objects in its collection.
NOW ON VIEW: See artworks from the modern and contemporary art collection in the cross-departmental exhibition Stampede: Animals in Art
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS: For Eyes On: Xiaoze Xie (Opens December 3, 2017) the artist has created still-life paintings of books, videos, and installations based on banned and forbidden books in China.
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION ONLINE: Browse artworks from the modern and contemporary art collection anytime. Check back often for additions and updates.
Collection of Polly and Mark Addison
Among the early supporters of the newly formed department were Polly and Mark Addison, who joined other enthusiasts to found the Alliance for Contemporary Art (now named DAM Contemporaries) in 1978, a group whose fundraising activities have helped the department underwrite many important purchases and programs. In the early 2000s, the Denver Art Museum’s acquisition efforts were enhanced when the Addisons initiated an active gift-giving program. Colorado residents and long-time museum supporters, the Addisons are passionate, intelligent collectors of contemporary art in all media who generously share their finds—from time-based work and sculpture to installation art and photography—with the museum. Audience favorites such as Jim Green’s Singing Sinks (located on level one of the North Building) and Charles Sandison’s Chamber (conceived of and installed for the exhibitions Embrace! and Blink! Light, Sound and the Moving Image) are among the many important works the Addisons’ support has brought to the museum.
Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan
Learn more on the Logan Collection page.
Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive
The Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive contains over 8,000 works of art and design, along with extensive documentary material. This internationally important repository is dedicated to the legacy of the Austrian-born Bauhaus master who lived in Colorado for 28 years. The core of this collection and archive came through the artist’s bequest, and scholars visit from around the world to engage in research here. Selected works are displayed on the lower level of the Hamilton Building.
Born in 1900 in Austria, Herbert Bayer immigrated to the United States in 1938. He moved from New York to Aspen in 1946 at the behest of Walter Paepcke, chairman of the Container Corporation of America. Bayer’s influence is still evident today, especially at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.
The first in a multi-year contemporary art exhibition series, Eyes On: Xiaoze Xie features still-life paintings of books, videos, and installations that the artist based on banned and forbidden books in China. More
See how animals have captivated artists throughout history in the exhibition Stampede: Animals in Art. This cross-departmental exhibition brings together more than 300 objects from the Denver Art Museum’s collection to explore the presence of animals in art throughout centuries and across cultures. More
News & Stories
This fall and winter the Denver Art Museum has a blockbuster lineup of exhibitions offering something for everyone. More
A look into the history of the DAM Key Award, the impact on the contemporary art community in Denver, and the 2017 recipients. More
Cuban American Enrique Martínez Celaya shares a personal retrospective on contemporary art. More
Artist Coco Fusco’s Logan Lecture on contemporary art and media in Cuba was September 15, 2017. More
Read our conversation with Leonardo Drew and see his work in Showing Off through April 3, 2016. More
The Denver Art Museum recently announced that three curators joined the museum. Below is a brief introduction. Stay tuned for more information and opportunities to get to know them and their growing art collections.
Tianlong Jiao, Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art More
Unless otherwise noted, all publications were published by the Denver Art Museum. Many of the titles are available to purchase in the Shop.
- Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place/artistas contemporáneos exploran el concepto de lugar. Rebecca S. Hart. Denver Art Museum, 2017.
- Women of Abstract Expressionism. Edited by Joan Marter; Gwen Chanzit, curator. Denver Art Museum in association with Yale University Press, 2016.
- Nick Cave: Sojourn. Kyle MacMillan and William Morrow. Denver Art Museum, 2013.
- Collecting Ideas: Modern & Contemporary Works from the Polly and Mark Addison Collection. Nancy B. Tieken. Denver Art Museum, 2013.
- Companion to Focus: Robert Motherwell from the Collection. Nancy B. Tieken. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Companion to Focus: The Figure, Art from the Logan Collection. Nancy B. Tieken. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Overthrown: Clay Without Limits. Volumes I and II. Gwen Chanzit. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Companion to Blink! Light, Sound and the Moving Image. Jill Desmond. Denver Art Museum, 2011.
- Embrace! Volumes I and II. Christoph Heinrich, Denver Art Museum, 2009–2010.
- RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan. Dianne Perry Vanderlip, Gwen Chanzit, et al. Denver Art Museum, 2007.
- From Bauhaus to Aspen: Herbert Bayer and Modernist Design in America. Gwen F. Chanzit. Boulder: Johnson Books, 2005.
- The View from Denver: Contemporary American Art from the Denver Art Museum. Dianne Perry Vanderlip et al. Denver Art Museum/Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, 1997.
- Visions of America: Landscape as Metaphor in the Late Twentieth Century. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with the Denver Art Museum and the Columbus Museum of Art, 1994.
- Rebecca R. Hart, Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
- Kaitlin Maestas, Curatorial Assistant
- Danielle St. Peter, Interpretive Specialist
- Julie Augur, Adjunct Curator, Drawings
- Hugh Grant, Adjunct Curator, Kirkland Collection
- Gwen F. Chanzit, PhD, Curator Emerita of Modern Art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive 1980-2016
- William Morrow, Polly and Mark Addison Associate Curator of Contemporary Art 2012–2014
- Jessica Brunecky, DAM Contemporaries 2010–2014
- Christoph Heinrich, The Polly and Mark Addison Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art 2007–2009
- Dianne Vanderlip, The Polly and Mark Addison Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art 1978–2007