The Richmond Art Museum has a number of artworks by American Impressionists from the late 19th and 20th Century including William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Robert Reid and Guy Wiggins to name a few. In 1899, the museum acquired its first painting for a permanent collection and began acquiring works thereafter annually.
Many of the artworks selected were acquired from artists who were exhibiting in the Annual Exhibition. By 1904, major American artists from Chicago, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and New York sent their artwork to Richmond for the Annual Exhibition.
Artists were shipping their artwork to be exhibited included Frederick S. Church, William Merritt Chase, Gardner Symons, John White Alexander and Childe Hassam. That same year the famous Durand-Ruel Gallery sent works by Camille Jean Baptiste Corot (1796-1875), Pierre-August Renoir and Claude Monet and sent a work by Mary Cassatt in 1906 for exhibition in Richmond.
In 1910, John White Alexander, then President of the National Academy, met with a reporter from the New York Times who asked him what he thought about the prospect for art in America. Alexander responded, “Have you ever been to Richmond, Indiana? No? Never even heard of it? A good many persons don’t know the name but all artists do. Richmond has one of the best exhibitions in this country. I wish New York could compare with it.”
The Reid Purchase Fund was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Daniel G. Reid for the purpose of acquiring important American works of art. Mr. Reid, had made his fortune in the tin-plate industry, becoming one of the wealthiest industrialists in the United States. Although he moved to New York, he never forgot his hometown, building Reid Hospital, the Reid Presbyterian Memorial Church and contributing to the local YMCA. The fund made it possible to secure a total of eight paintings, including Henry Mosler, Ben Foster, Leonard Ochtman, Harry Walcott, Frank Vincent DuMond, Albert L. Groll, Robert Reid and John C. Johansen.
The museum continues to acquire works of art by American artists with a strong emphasis on Indiana and Ohio regional artists.