The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., which has attracted nearly 1.6 million visitors since opening in 2011, has always had sparse holding in postwar art. But it has been steadily filling the gaps. And on Friday, the museum — financed largely by the Walmart heir Alice Walton — is to announce the addition of 16 works acquired in 2014, including an important "combine" by Robert Rauschenberg. Most will go on view this month in what Chad Alligood, a curator at the museum, called a "radical restructuring" of the postwar galleries that will provide a better narrative of the development of art in the second half of the 20th century.
For example, Rauschenberg's "The Tower," a 1957 assemblage of tin cans, a broom, fabric, light bulbs and an umbrella, set in a wooden structure, will stand near a 1963 Rauschenberg painting. Once owned by the collectors Victor and Sally Ganz, "The Tower" went on the auction block at Christie's in 2011, estimated at $12 million to $18 million, but failed to sell. Crystal Bridges bought the piece privately at an undisclosed price.
To illustrate the bridge between Abstract Expressionism and color field painting created by Helen Frankenthaler, Crystal Bridges is hanging her "Seven Types of Ambiguity" from 1957, one of three paintings and two works on paper just purchased from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.
Among other new works are Mark Tansey's "Landscape" (1994), which sold last fall at Sotheby's for $3.7 million (with buyer's premium); Vija Celmins's "Untitled (Ham Hock)" from 1964, which Mr. Alligood said captured "a moment in Pop Art that was once called 'the new realism,' " and two gifts: Brice Marden's "For Carl Andre" and Nancy Graves's "Fayum-Re," the latter from the New York collector Agnes Gund.
The new works are estimated to be worth about $20 million, but the museum declined to comment.