The family of artist Rollin Pickford made a planned gift to the Fresno State Madden Library’s Special Collections Research Center of Pickford’s paintings, notebooks, diaries and memorabilia.

Appraised at a value of $2.2 million, the gifts will be delivered in increments over the next 20 years. The first of these gifts was received in December 2013.

“In making our decision about where to place this collection, we chose the Henry Madden Library for its location in the heart of Rollin’s beloved San Joaquin Valley, for its state-of-the-art archival facilities and exhibition space, and for its enthusiastic and dedicated Special Collections staff,” said Joel Pickford, Rollin Pickford’s son.

“The donation of the Rollin Pickford paintings from the Pickford family is a truly significant gift, not only as a body of art from a well-known artist, but as a record of regional landscapes and buildings of the past,” said Tammy Lau, head of the Special Collections Research Center that houses the donated paintings.

Largely a water-colorist, Pickford was one of the seminal 20th century Valley painters with a national reputation. He helped develop a regional variation of the California watercolor style dubbed the “San Joaquin Valley school of watercolor.” The Madden Library will provide worldwide access to this collection in its online digital repository.

The gift will be celebrated in an exhibition of the artist’s work, where for the first time the paintings will be accompanied by the artist’s notebooks, dairies, and other memorabilia. Titled “Rollin Pickford: An Artist and His Collectors,” the exhibition will be open from Oct. 17 – Jan. 16, 2015 in the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery in the Madden Library.

This exhibition will showcase watercolors by Pickford from the private collections of 21 different families and companies. Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see these never-before-exhibited works and to learn more about Pickford as a man and as an artist. They will also learn about the individual collectors, why they appreciate Pickford’s work, and how they came to acquire these pieces.

Also on display will be some of Pickford’s journals, in which he wrote daily, often describing the watercolors as he was in the process of painting them.

An opening reception on Friday, Oct. 17 will also serve to honor the Pickford Family as the Henry Madden Library’s 2014 Donors of the Year.
For more information contact Susan Christensen, Madden Library coordinator of facilities and event management at 559.278.5792  or