Washington and Lee University possesses a number of art collections that are displayed in buildings across campus. Among works of art owned and displayed here are a series of Washington-Custis-Lee portraits, the Vincent L. Bradford collection of 19th-century American paintings, the Thomas F. Torrey, II collection of landscape paintings, the Stan Kamen collection of Western art, the Sydney and Frances Lewis collection of 20th-century art, and the Jacob and Bernice Weinstein collection of modern art.
Two portraits of George Washington in the Lee Chapel Museum stand out as particularly important monuments: The first, by Charles Willson Peale, was painted in 1772 and depicts Washington as a Colonel in the Virginia Regiment before the American Revolution. The second portrait, produced by Gilbert Stuart ca. 1800, celebrates the conclusion of George Washington’s second term as President of the United States.
In 1967 the University received 4,000 ceramic objects from Mr. and Mrs. Euchlin D. Reeves, including an important collection of 17th-19th-century Chinese export porcelain. This collection and the paintings of Mrs. Reeves (Louise Herreshoff) are housed in a research and exhibition center on campus that bears the donor’s name. The adjacent Watson Pavilion for Asian Arts, which opened in 1993, contains additional works donated by Elizabeth Otey Watson, Gerry Lenfest, Groke Mickey, and many others, and contains within it a Japanese tea room.
Generous gifts from the Poynor and Hollis/Baldeck Foundations have provided funds for the Department of Art and Art History to purchase contemporary works – most recently images by Frank Stella and William Christenberry – that are on display in Wilson Hall and in other venues around campus.