Since deCordova opened to the public in 1950, the Museum has maintained and enlarged a Permanent Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. The Permanent Collection now comprises over 3,500 artworks in several media: photography, prints, painting, drawing, sculpture, multi-media, and new media.

DeCordova’s Permanent Collection is broad in scope, but enjoys particular areas of strength. Photography makes up the plurality of the Permanent Collection (over 1,500 artworks) with major holdings of work by photographers Harold Edgerton, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Aaron Siskind, Jules Aarons, Larry Fink, Edward Steichen, and Bradford Washburn.

Large-scale sculpture in the Permanent Collection is displayed as part of deCordova’s outdoor Sculpture Park program, and features work by Dorothy Dehner, Antony Gormley, Dan Graham, Alexander Liberman, Nam June Paik, Jaume Plensa, Rona Pondick, George Rickey, Ursula von Rydingsvard, William Tucker, Gary Webb, and others. DeCordova also has one of the largest and most comprehensive museum collection of works by artists of the New England region since c. 1950, with particular depth in Boston artists in general and members of the mid-twentieth-century Boston Expressionist group (Jack Levine, Hyman Bloom, Karl Zerbe, David Aronson, Arthur Polonsky, Barbara Swan, Bernard Chaet, and others).