The Rockefeller Collection of American Art

The extraordinarily high quality of the historical American art collection at the de Young is a tribute to the generosity of John D. Rockefeller 3rd and his wife, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller. With remarkable foresight regarding the cultural impact of locating a major group of American art on the West Coast, in 1978 they announced a planned gift of their superb collection of American masterworks to the Fine Arts Museums. Mr. Rockefeller’s bequest in 1979, followed by his wife’s bequest in 1993, together totaling 110 paintings, 29 drawings, and two sculptures, comprises the Museums' single most important gift of art. The Rockefeller gifts not only established one of the cornerstone collections of American art in the United States, they also inspired the Museums to further augment and extend their survey collection of American art with major works by the country’s leading artists.

The Rockefellers’ accomplishments as collectors and their generosity as donors are reflected in their gifts of such icons of American art as John Singleton Copley’s Mrs. Daniel Sargent (1763), George Caleb Bingham’s Boatmen on the Missouri (1846), Frederic Edwin Church’s Twilight (1858), Martin Johnson Heade’s Singing Beach, Manchester, Massachusetts (1863), Winslow Homer’s The Bright Side (1865), Thomas Pollock Anshutz’s The Ironworkers’ Noontime (1880), Thomas Hovenden’s The Last Moments of John Brown (ca. 1884), John Frederick Peto’s The Cup We All Race 4 (ca. 1900), Marsden Hartley’s The Summer Camp, Blue Mountain (ca. 1909), and Horace Pippin’s The Trial of John Brown (1942).