The permanent collection of the museum continues to grow through the generosity of individuals and organizations who donate works of art from their own collections, assuring that the museum’s collection continues to represent the global spectrum of the visual arts. Other donors provide funding to purchase works for the permanent collection. The continued growth of the museum’s holdings depends entirely on private support.
The museum recognizes art donors through the John Barton Payne Society. The Honorable John Barton Payne, a prominent Virginian, donated his collection of fifty paintings to the Commonwealth in 1919. Gifts of art from other donors soon followed, and in 1932 Judge Payne proposed a $100,000 challenge grant to build a museum for this burgeoning public art collection. The challenge was accepted by Virginia Governor John Garland Pollard, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts opened its doors in 1936.
The museum determines if an art gift will be accepted based upon VMFA’s collection plan. If a work fits into the museum’s collecting needs, the work can be accessioned following approval from the Board of Trustees. Inquiries about gifts of art may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Offer of donation or sale” in the subject line and a jpg of the work attached.
You may also send an inquiry by mail to:
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Attn: Collections Department
200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23220-4007
To learn more about the process of donating a work of art, please visit the Curatorial Inquiries page.