The Ellen Noël Museum actively seeks to acquire works for its growing Permanent Collection, either through purchase or through donation. The Museum concentrates its collecting primarily on the acquisition of fine examples of American art from 1860 to the present. The Museum makes a special effort to seek out important work by artists from Texas and from the Southwest. Comprising nearly 800 works in a variety of media, the Permanent Collection includes painting, sculpture, ceramics, glass, works on paper, and photography.
Many well-known artists, such as Thomas Hart Benton, Janet Fish, Giacomo Manzu, Adolph Gottlieb, Peter Hurd, Lois Lane, M.C. Escher, Lowell Nesbitt, Rufino Tamayo, Victor Vasarely, and Peter Vogel, are among the nearly 400 American artists whose works are represented in the Collection. Works by established Texas and Southwestern artists like Luis Jimenez, Ned Bosnick, Dee Wolff, Frank Gervasi, Billy Hassell, Michelle O’Michael, George Tobolowsky and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith form a significant part of the collection. The Ellen Noël Art Museum Permanent Collection features two important pieces by Texas ceramist James Watkins and major works by regional ceramist /sculptor Jean Cappadonna-Nichols.
The Museum commissioned a monumental, wall-mounted sculptural piece by the internationally celebrated artist Jesus Morales, entitled “Portal,” which was installed in the George and Milly Rhodus Sensory and Sculpture Garden. The Collection also includes a free standing granite work entitled “Musical Stele,” and a granite water feature titled “Spirit Fountain,” also by Morales. This group of outdoor sculpture by Morales was acquired as part of the Museum’s program to enrich the lives of the visually impaired.
In addition to the works placed in the George and Milly Rhodus Sensory and Sculpture Garden, other works of sculpture are on long term display on the front lawn of the Museum. Many works of art in the Permanent Collection are also featured in various temporary exhibitions presented throughout the year.