Arizona Arts

Ongoing • In Pfeiffer Gallery

Modern Art Gallery

In addition to examples of pure abstraction, this exhibition of works from the UAMA collection features artists who blurred the boundaries of abstraction and representation.


Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley #19, 1954, Oil on canvas, Gift of Gloria Vanderbilt and the American Federation of Arts Museum Purchase Fund


The mid-twentieth century was a watershed moment in the history of art where artists began to challenge traditional understandings and practices of art-making.

This was done in part through a negation of pictorial space and narrative in favor of an emphasis on artistic process, experimentation, and the development of a universal visual language.

In addition to examples of pure abstraction by Jackson Pollock, Minda Hess and Ynez Johnston, this exhibition includes works by artists who blurred the boundaries of abstraction and representation such as Grace Hartigan, Richard Diebenkorn and Joan Brown.

It also features Willem de Kooning’s Woman-Ochre, infamously stolen from the UAMA in 1985 and recovered over 30 years later in Cliff, New Mexico. In fact, the gallery that houses this exhibition is named in honor of David Van Auker, Buck Burns and Richard Johnson, co-owners of Manzanita Ridge Furniture and Antiques who purchased the painting at an estate sale and immediately returned it to the museum when they discovered its origin.

The majority of the twentieth-century American and European modern art collection at UAMA was donated over the span of twenty years by Edward Gallagher, Jr. A Baltimore native, he had a love for Arizona from his time growing up and vacationing at dude ranches with his family. He established the collection to honor the memory of his son and only child, “little Eddy.”