Collage of images of the collection


All Along the Erie Canal: The Pastels of J. Erwin Porter

J. Erwin Porter (1903-1981) found inspiration for his artwork "all along the Erie Canal." In over 70 drawings and rubbings, now in the collection of the New York State Museum, Porter captured mid-20th-century scenes along the mid-19th century route, scenes which are now considered to be historic documents at the dawn of the 21st century.

Louis Agassiz Fuertes: 'Birds of New York' Art Collection

Housed in the historical archives in the Cultural Education Center are a series of bird paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes done for The Birds of New York by Elon Howard Eaton in 1910 (vol.1) and 1914 (vol.2). Although there are one hundred and six (106) plates in The Birds of New York, there are one hundred and eighteen (118) original paintings. These are an important part of New York State's heritage not only because they were accomplished by a life-long resident of New York, but because historically, he is considered one of the world's greatest bird artists.

New York Chamber of Commerce Portrait Collection

In 2003 the New York State Museum received a donation of over 200 portraits from The Partnership for New York City Inc. The Partnership, formed in 2002, was the successor organization to the New York Chamber of Commerce, chartered in New York City in 1784 as The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. That organization originated with a royal charter granted in 1770 by King George III. The Chamber of Commerce portrait collection includes works by distinguished artists from the late 18th century through the mid-20th century, including Matthew Pratt, Daniel Huntington, and Eastman Johnson. The subjects are Chamber members and associates, many of whom were prominent in the fields of business, commerce, and politics. They include Cadwallader Colden, Samuel F. B. Morse, and John Jacob Astor III.

Rufus Grider Drawings

Rufus Grider (1817-1900) was a Pennsylvania drawing teacher who moved to Canajoharie, New York in late middle age and developed a fascination with Mohawk Valley history. He created dozens of drawings and watercolors documenting the sites and history of the region. In 1937 the New York State Museum received two dozen of his ink and wash drawings of the Piseco Lake area in the mid-1880s. They were drawn during summer vacation with a student’s family.


Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) was one of the most prolific American artists of the 20th century, producing hundreds of sculptures cast in bronze and even aluminum, showcasing her fascination with animals. She maintained a residence and a studio in New York City. Her studio at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina is open to the public, displaying numerous examples of her works and works by many of the most famous and talented artists of her time. Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927) turned his fascination with birds into a career as America’s pre-eminent avian watercolorist of the 20th century. His bronze sculpture of a mountain gorilla contemplating a butterfly illustrates not only his interest in other forms of art and animal life, but also his sense of humor.

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