Davis Arts Center Collection

Arneson Bust 8 Davis Arts Center Collection
(current holdings, does not include photography)

Past Exhibits

Lost and Found: Visions of the Davis Art Center
Davis Arts Center, October – November 2010
Curated by Michele Taylor-Hamilton

The Collection of the Davis Art Center: A Small Community Collects Big
Paul Thiebaud Gallery, January – March 2013

A Legacy of Art
Davis Arts Center, January 2014
Curated by Michele Taylor-Hamilton

From Darkroom to Digital
Davis Arts Center, January 2015

About the Collection

In 1967, Arts Center Board members and volunteers formed a committee to establish a permanent art collection by acquiring the work of regional artists. The committee acquired art through purchases and donations made by local artists at UC Davis and throughout Northern California, many of whom – such as Robert Arneson, Wayne Thiebaud, Roland Petersen, and David Gilhooly – went on to enjoy national prominence. Acquisitions continued through the 1980’s and the collection grew to include over 150 artworks by over 100 artists in a variety of media. In 2010 the Arts Center mounted an exhibit of important pieces from the collection, which was the first time in 30 years that many of these artworks had been seen by the public.

In 2011, after a rigorous strategic planning process that included members of the Board, staff, community members and professional experts, Davis Arts Center decided to de-access the collection. An important factor in the decision was the lack of proper facilities to adequately store or display the collection as it deserved. It was also felt that the mission of the Arts Center had evolved away from being a professional art gallery or museum toward becoming a center for community engagement in the arts. For all of these reasons, de-accession was seen as the right course for the Arts Center, as well as for the future of the artworks in the collection.

In the spring of 2013, the Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco hosted a well-received exhibit of the entire collection. Over twenty of the most important pieces sold with the majority of the proceeds going to the Arts Center. Three additional pieces were sold at the Pence Gallery auction in September 2013; other works were sold in January 2014 at the Arts Center’s exhibit A Legacy of Art.  Also in 2014 the Jan and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis acquired the Arts Center's unusual collage by Robert Arneson (Where It's At 1303 Alice Street, 1968) for the museum's collection.

The remaining pieces, including a large collection of photography, are still for sale. Christie's Auction House will offer five artworks (Lots 4-8) from the collection in its First Open/Online Auction July 16-28, 2015. Watch the live auction online or place a bid! Other remaining pieces may be purchased directly from the Arts Center. All proceeds are being used to establish a reserve fund in support of new, interactive programming to promote family and community arts engagement.