Peter Busa studied at the Art Students League with Thomas Benton in the same class as Jackson Pollock, and in 1935 he began studies with Hans Hofmann both in New York and in Provincetown.  In 1938-39, Busa made many visits to the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the American Indian with his friends Steve Wheeler, Will Barnet, and Robert Barrell.  In writing about artisans of these earlier cultures, Busa commented, "There was a genuine love for economy of forms and unfettered simplicity of direct statement… the structure of the space reflected by American Indian art was all-positive, without negative space. This was a unique idea compared to say, cubism, which dealt with positive and negative space.  They elevated primitive art to the same level of accepted art. We did for American Indian art, you might say, what Picasso did for African art."


Peter Busa’s work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Selected Public Collections


Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, HO

Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME

Cooper Union, New York, NY

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH

Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY

Federal Reserve Bank, Minneapolis, MN

Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, Baroness Hilla Rebay

Peggy Guggenheim, Art of This Century Collection, Venice, Italy

Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY

Iowa State College, Ames, IA

La Jolla Museum of Art, La Jolla, CA

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN

National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC

Portland Art Museum, Portland, ME

Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY

Syracuse University Museum, Syracuse, NY

Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN

University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC

University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, WI

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY









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