The Lipton Collection


About the Collection

The Lipton Collection showcases Dr. Irving Lipton’s interest in the cutting-edge of contemporary wood art over a period when the field had not yet coalesced into a major movement. Collecting the work as it was being created, from the early 1970s through the beginning of the new century, Dr. Lipton was instrumental in developing the careers of leading figures and bringing attention to their work. As these individuals in turn had a major impact on the field, Dr. Lipton’s value as a patron of the arts was invaluable.

Ron Fleming - Untitled Vessel
Ron Fleming | Untitled Vessel | c. 1990
Pink ivory wood | 10.5 h x 7" dia
Bob Womack - Untitled Vessel
Bob Womack | Untitled Vessel | 1986
Blackjack oak burl | 8" h x 6.75 w x 2.5" d


At its height, the Lipton Collection featured over 2,000 works by 115 international artists. From his first acquisitions, Dr. Lipton saw the importance of sharing the works. At any given time over the decades, large numbers of works from the collection were touring internationally. He ultimately donated works to number of organizations and institutions, with the largest numbers of works divided between five museums across the United States: The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

John Jordan - Lidded Vessel
John Jordan | Lidded Vessel | 1991
Box elder
9.5" h x 6.5" dia
Michael Hosaluk - Patterns of Growth
Michael Hosaluk | Patterns of Growth | c. 1990
Elm, maple, brass, acrylic paint and hair
13" h x 6" w x 6" dia


The Lipton Collection – consisting of those works in permanent collections and works that are now available to collectors – documents the evolution of specific artists as well as the larger field. The Collection represents the emergence of the field of contemporary wood art over the last quarter of the 20th century, when many of those who are now considered the elder statesmen of the field were beginning their careers, tracing the growth of contemporary wood art through our shared relationship with trees, traditions of woodworking, influential art movements, and the cultural milieu of the 20th century.  


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