The Permanent Collections of the Des Moines Art Center are comprised of 20th- and 21st-century works of modern and contemporary art. In addition, there are singular examples from other styles and cultures including the Renaissance, Impressionism, and post-Impressionism; and 18th- and 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints. The entire collection currently stands at over 5,000 works art, including more than 4000 works on paper. The Permanent Collections include a number of individual collections that have been established through donation of funds or bequests of artwork. These collections include the Irma and Julian Brody Collection, John C. Huseby Print Collection, Louise Noun Collection of Art by Women, Paul and Anastasia Polydoran Collection, and most notably the Nathan Emory Coffin Collection.

Please note that the works of art in our online database represent only a portion of the entire Des Moines Art Center permanent collections. The information provided therein may be subject to revision as a result of ongoing collections research.

Create your own virtual art collections using works of art from the Des Moines Art Center's holdings. Simply sign up for a My Collection account, browse the Art Center's online collection, and select your favorite works of art. Users under 13 years of age are required to obtain parental consent before creating an account.

Funding for the on-line collections project and the forthcoming collections catalog is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Gardner and Florence Call Cowles Foundation.

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines
In its 63 – year history the Art Center has built an important, world-renowned collection of modern and contemporary art. The curatorial vision of the institution has placed particular emphasis on acquiring works of art created around the time of their acquisition which has led to a singular concentration of modern and contemporary masters. Highlights of the permanent collection include Constantin Brancusi (Maiastra, 1912-13), Georgia O’Keeffe (From the Lake No. 1, 1924), Edward Hopper (Automat, 1927), Eva Hesse (Untitled, 1970), Jeff Koons (New Shelton Wet/Dry Triple Decker, 1981), and Jean-Michel Basquiat (Untitled, 1984) just to name a few.
Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines
The relevance and dynamism of the Art Center’s collection continues to be shaped by contemporary voices that reflect issues and ideas that are germane to the times in which we live. Art by contemporary masters, works dating from roughly 1960 to the present, is amply represented at the Des Moines Art Center. Minimalist and post-Minimalist art of the 1960s and 1970s is particularly strong and features the work of artists such as Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, and Ellsworth Kelly. With each subsequent decade the Art Center’s collection has continued to grow and reflect the changing world around us. Recent acquisitions include key works by Mona Hatoum, Leslie Hewitt, Ragnar Kjartansson, Yoshitomo Nara, Anselm Reyle, and Dario Robleto.
Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines
The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines and has been open since September 2009. The collection sits on 4.4 acres of land designed by Agrest and Gandelsonas Architects to provide scale and multiple perspectives between the viewer and the sculpture through topographic elements or “waves.” This collection of outdoor public works currently stands at 27 and reflects an international cross section of figurative, gestural, and architectonic approaches to this dynamic genre. Highlights include Louise Bourgeois’ colossal (Spider, 1997), an iconic symbol of protection and strength; Yoshitomo Nara’s (White Ghost, 2010), a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Buddhist guardian lions; and Jaume Plensa’s (Nomade, 2007), which takes an unconventional approach to sculpture by using letters as building blocks to construct an anonymous, crouching figure.
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