European works in the Spencer’s collection include Medieval cloister capitals, Italian painting and sculpture, Northern Renaissance objects, and 19th- and 20th-century painting and sculpture. The Museum was also one of the first recipients of a Kress Study Collection from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in 1959. The Spencer’s seventeen Kress Collection works include Renaissance panel paintings and more.
Other European highlights include Tilman Riemenschneider’s famous limewood sculpture and the Master of Frankfurt’s triptych altarpiece. Also notable are 17th-century Dutch paintings, Spanish Baroque works, and German and Austrian paintings. The collection includes a strong representation of decorative arts from Austria, France, England, Italy, and Eastern Europe, featuring works in glass, ceramics, reverse paintings on glass, and textiles.
Numerous works from the 18th and 19th centuries attract significant interest, including La Pia de’ Tolommei by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a seascape by Gustave Courbet, and an interior by Jean-Léon Gérôme. Notable sculptures include the life-size bronze Et Toujours! Et Jamais! by Pierre Eugène Emile Hébert.
Additional highlights include paintings by the Catalan modernist Pierre Daura, Cubist paintings by Jeanne Rij-Rousseau, Art Nouveau and 19th-century objects and jewelry from Russia, Germany, Italy, and England, as well as contemporary jewelry by various European artists.