The collection of the Butler Institute of American Art spans four centuries. It is installed in the museum in chronological order to illustrate the history of America.
Central to the museum’s 19th century holdings is Winslow Homer's iconic Snap the Whip, and works by Albert Pinkham Ryder, Harnett, Eakins, Albert Bierstadt, and the Hudson River School's Eastman, Cole, Durand and Doughty. The Marine Collection spans four American decades, featuring Fitz Hugh Lane, Martin Johnson Heade, Edward Moran, John Marin and Arthur Dove.
American Impressionists include Robert Vonnoh, Edward Potthast, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and Gari Melchers; “The Eight” includes George Luks, John Sloan, Robert Henri, and Maurice Prendergast. Early 20th century artists represented include Charles Sheeler, and Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Charles Burchfield, and Contemporary masters include Robert Rauschenberg, Chuck Close, and George Segal.
Also notable in the collection is American Sports Art, including work by George Bellows and Andy Warhol. In addition, the museum has a dedicated gallery, the Giffuni Pastel Gallery, where work accomplished the medium of pastel is shown.