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The Art of the State:120 Artworks for 120 Years of the University of Montana

To celebrate University of Montana’s 120-year anniversary in 2013, the Montana Museum of Art and Culture published a “handbook” featuring 120 pieces selected from the nearly 11,000 objects in the collection.

A year after UM was established in Missoula in 1893, the permanent collection at MMAC began. Since that time, the museum has been limited to showing only one half of one percent of the collection at any time due to the lack of a permanent facility.

Currently, the museum utilizes seven work and storage locations on and off campus. Selections from the collection are displayed in the Paxon and Meloy Galleries on the UM campus as well as in traveling exhibitions around the state and the country.

The “Art of the State” features only a small fraction of the 11,000 works in the collection including pieces of European, American and Asian art, ceramics, textiles, prints and photography. On the pages are 120 pieces “carefully selected” from the permanent collection including work from world-renowned artists such as Daumier, Chagall, Picasso, Miró, Dali and selections from the American art collection by artists such as Frederick Remington, Edgar S. Paxton, William Standing and Winslow Homer.

With a mission to “acquire and preserve art that expresses the spirit of the American West and its relationship to the world,” the MMAC continues to seek a permanent facility and proceeds from the sale of “The Art of the State” go to this effort. For more information about the MMAC and “The Art of the State” visit or call (406) 243-2019.

The current exhibition from the collection is “Between Wisdom and Knowledge: Contemporary Native American Art” at the Paxon Gallery at UM through February 16, 2019.

—MP Staff

Edgar S. Paxon, “Sacajawea,” 1904. Paxon came west from New York in 1877, the year after the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He moved to Butte in 1881 where he established a painting and portraiture studio before moving to Missoula in 1906 .

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