UCI student viewing the First Glimpse: Introducing The Buck Collection exhibit.

A Global Magnet for the Exhibition and
Research of California Art

A Global Magnet for the Exhibition and Research of California Art

Two landmark gifts of significant artworks have made UCI a world-class destination for the exhibition and study of California art. In 2016, The Irvine Museum transferred its remarkable collection of California Impressionist paintings to UCI. And in 2017, Gerald Buck’s collection of over 3,200 works of modern and contemporary California art was gifted to UCI through his trust.

These incredible foundational gifts have led to the creation of the UCI Institute and Museum of California Art (UCI IMCA). The project will house a significant collection, from the mid-19th century to the present, showcasing the ever-changing perspectives of artists and their capacity to develop visual forms in response to the unique culture of California and its global contexts. 

“UCI IMCA will be a world-class museum dedicated to collecting, interpreting and preserving all genres of California artwork and, in so doing, generate research and new scholarship for the field,” said Kim Kanatani, director of the museum.

“UCI IMCA will be a world-class museum dedicated to collecting, interpreting and preserving all genres of California artwork and, in so doing, generate research and new scholarship for the field.”

- Kim Kanatani, director of the museum

Significantly, the launch of IMCA as a permanent museum and research institute at UCI also fulfills the vision of campus architect, William Pereira, who included an art museum in his original blueprint for UCI in 1962. Currently, we are working on raising support to build the museum and concurrently implement a dynamic series of exhibitions, education programs and publications that will foster meaningful public engagement and unparalleled experiences campuswide, regionally, nationally and internationally.

A work from the Irvine Museum Collection, Laguna Eucalyptus by Guy Rose.

About the Two Collections

The Irvine Museum was founded in 1992 by Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, Joan Irvine Smith and James Irvine Swinden. Its collection consists of over 1,300 works of California Impressionism. The collection chronicles the history of California’s art and natural landscape from the early nineteenth century to the present day. It consists of seminal works by California artists including William Ritschel, William Wendt, Anna Hills, Franz Bischoff, Alson Clark, Frank Cuprien, Arthur Mathews, Granville Redmond, Guy Rose, Donna Schuster and many others. The collection has attracted museum-goers to The Irvine Museum location for more than 20 years.

Meanwhile, Gerald Buck – an Orange County developer and art collector who passed away in 2013 – created one of the most comprehensive private collections of California modern art in the world, according to dealers and curators. The encyclopedic collection is a representation of Buck’s enduring investment in the rich history of artists of the region from early modern pioneers to contemporary luminaries such as Larry Bell, Joan Brown, Mary Corse, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Robert Irwin, Ed Kienholz, Gilbert “Magu” Luján, David Park and others. Few of the artworks in the collection have been shown; IMCA hosted the inaugural public exhibition of selected works last fall with First Glimpse: Introducing the Buck Collection.