The San Antonio Art League & Museum's collection has been accumulated by direct purchase, purchase prize awards, gifts, and bequests. It numbers approximately 400 items, and all media are included. In addition to paintings and water-colors, the collection comprises graphic art, photography, ceramics, sculpture, drawings, silverware, furniture, fabric wall hangings, and the Edgar B. Davis Collection. The Art League's loan policy is to lend its paintings only for special exhibitions and specific requests from better art museums and galleries throughout the country.
PURPOSE OF SAN ANTONIO ART LEAGUE & MUSEUM
The San Antonio Art League & Museum is committed to the encouragement and promotion of local and regional art by means of its collection, exhibitions, lectures, and other related activities.
SHORT HISTORY OF COLLECTION
Founded in 1912, the San Antonio Art League & Museum is the oldest art organization in San Antonio. The collection was begun that same year. During 1927, 1928, and 1929, the Art League conducted the Texas Wildflowers Competitive Exhibitions, which were made possible through the generosity of oilman Edgar B. Davis. The Davis Competitions, as they became popularly known, proved to be among the most significant cultural events in Texas during those formative years of the twentieth century. Since that time, the Art League, with a discriminating eye, has continued to add artwork to the permanent collection through purchases and gifts. That members, past and present, are able to recognize significant art works is one reason the Art League’s collection is of such value in historical and artistic terms.
PRESENT COLLECTION PRACTICE
Two additional pieces are added annually to the San Antonio Art League’s permanent collection: the Onderdonk Purchase Prize for winning artwork at the Juried Exhibition, and a suggested donation of a piece of art by the Art League’s Artist of the Year, who is chosen by a panel of out-of-state jurors. Additionally, gifts are occasionally made by artists and patrons.
SCOPE OF THE COLLECTION
Regarded as a whole, the San Antonio Art League’s permanent collection reflects a hundred-year history of art trends and of artists working in Texas and often beyond. In 1912, when the Art League was founded, no venue existed in San Antonio to exhibit paintings and other artworks. Today, the city has expanded along with its museums and art collections. The Art League’s ongoing collection has the distinction of being a virtual timeline of the city’s visual arts and artists from 1912 to the present.
Artworks acquired by the Art League should reflect this continuum. The Art League has refined/defined the scope of its collection as an ongoing record of the best of San Antonio art in particular and Texas art in general, both historical and contemporary. Pieces shall fit recognized standards of quality and reflect local and regional aesthetics. The Art League concentrates on quality rather than quantity within the parameters of present collection practices and limited storage space. The Art League is committed to giving the highest and best care possible to the collection held in its trust, both now and in the future.
The San Antonio Art League & Museum is not an art appraisal service, nor does it research the value of works in private collections for the purpose of buying art. The Art League continues to acquire work almost exclusively through purchase prizes (e.g., the Onderdonk Prize) and gifts from recognized regional artists, such as those honored as Artist of the Year. Should you consider offering a gift of art, please be aware that due to the Art League’s limited gallery and storage space, the added demands every object requires of its volunteers, and its small budget, the Art League must be very selective in its acquisitions. As the city grows, the Art League’s collection has become more refined in its scope to ensure that each piece reflects both the quality and the aesthetics of a small regional museum and the artists it represents.