Since Mrs. McNay's founding bequest of superb French Post-Impressionist paintings, the Modern collection has grown to represent Impressionism and its forerunners, as well as later European works.
Another focus of the McNay collection is American art from the 20th century, with strong examples from both the American scene style and European-influenced modernism.
The McNay’s collection has strengths in 20th century movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Minimalism. A diverse mix of paintings, sculpture, and photography, the collection emphasizes American artists after 1970.
The McNay's theatre collection emphasizes European and American stage design from the 1500s to the present. Highlights include Baroque festivals, Shakespeare plays, the Ballets Russes, Broadway musicals, and contemporary operas.
The McNay print collection is recognized for its focus on the graphics of the 19th and 20th centuries as well as for the overall quality of its holdings. Particular areas of strength are 19th c. French and American prints, German Expressionist graphics, and post-1960 American works on paper.
One of the finest collections of its kind in the country, the McNay's selection of contemporary Latino and Chicano prints is an area of strength in the collection.
Twenty-three acres of sloping lawns and wooded paths are home to a Japanese-inspired garden and a collection of major works of modern outdoor sculpture. Highlights include pieces by Alexander Liberman, Tony Smith, and Joel Shapiro.
Over decades of active collecting, Jeanne and Irving Mathews developed one of the finest collections of 19th and 20th century French art glass in the United States along with a formidable library on the subject.
In 1955, Dr. and Mrs. Frederic Oppenheimer gave the museum their collection of Medieval and Renaissance sculptures and paintings. Highlights of the collection include works by Albrecht Bouts, the Master of Frankfurt, and Taddeo di Bartolo as well as French, German, and Netherlandish sculptures.
On summer visits to New Mexico, Mrs. McNay amassed a large collection of Native American and New Mexican folk art. She acquired several dozen santos, fine collections of decorative arts, and watercolors by members of the Taos Society of Artists.