The Museum’s permanent collection owned by the City of Oxnard, was established in the 1920s. It primarily focuses on the art of California. A strong point of the collection is in its California plein-air holdings, including paintings by Emil Kosa Jr., Colin Campbell Cooper, Paul Lauritz, and Cornelius and Jessie Arms Botke. Along with a diverse collection of multi-cultural and ethnographic artifacts, another strength is its Hollywood portraits by photographer George Hurrell, from the classic film noire period of the 1930-40s. Currently, acquisition places emphasis on collecting art inclusive of all California art movements, and of educational value to a population that is highly diverse. For example, major paintings by Latino artists, Frank Romero, and contemporary California artist Michael Dvortcsak have been acquired to implement this expanded emphasis. Acquisitions have included Europa by John Valadez, Enter Tormenta by Gronk, Quiet Steps of Approaching Thunder by Alexey Steele, Rural Pearl a scanogram by Darryl Curran and Lost Creek, Bantiquos Lagoon by Peter Adams, President of the California Art Club. Major donations of art are a vital source of building the permanent collection. Past art donations have been received from the Lannan Foundation, Peter & Eileen Norton, who donated thirty contemporary works including Watch Out for Snakes When You are Looking for Diamonds by Therman Statom, along with promised bequests from the California Art Collection of Nancy Dustin Wall Moure and Ventura County Art Collector Jackson Wheeler, as well as gifts from artists themselves.
Carnegie Art Museum Collections Focus
Operating as a museum rather than as a retail gallery, artist collective, or general cultural center, the Carnegie Art Museum places emphasis on presenting to the public museum quality art and educational experiences in accordance with the professional standards set by the American Association of Museums. Therefore within the Museum resource level, quality and educational value are the key curatorial criteria for the inclusion of artworks into the permanent collection and for exhibit selection.