The PAFA collection is displayed in a chronological and thematic format, tracing American art history from the 1760s to now. Holdings include work by leading American artists, such as Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, Frank Duvenek, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, and Edmund Tarbell, and The Eight, which includes PAFA alumni Robert Henri and John Sloan.
The collecting tradition has continued, adding works by modern and contemporary American artists such as Jennifer Bartlett, Richard Diebenkorn, Nancy Graves, Alex Katz, Robert Motherwell, and Frank Stella. Acquisitions and exhibition programs balance historical and contemporary art, and the museum continues to show works by contemporary regional artists and features annual displays of work by PAFA students.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was founded in 1805 and has been housed in the current Historic Landmark Building -- designed by architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt -- since 1876.