The Swope Art Museum is known for its extraordinary collection of nearly 2,500 works of American art including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the 19th century to the present.

The major strength of collection is American Scene Painting of the 1930s and 1940s, with work by artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Burchfield, John Steuart Curry, Edward Hopper, Reginald Marsh, and Grant Wood.

19th century American art movements are represented through works by artists as diverse in style as William Merritt Chase, George Inness, Frederick MacMonnies, Mary Fairchild MacMonnies, and Tompkins Harrison Matteson.

20th century American art includes work by George Bellows, Arthur B. Davies, Manierre Dawson, Jack Levine, George Luks, and Fairfield Porter.

The Swope collection also has great depth in historic Indiana art, including work by Hoosier Group artists J. Ottis Adams, William Forsyth, Otto Stark, and Theodore C. Steele; Brown County, Indiana Impressionists like C. Curry Bohm, Carl C. Graf, and Genevieve Goth Grath; and Terre Haute natives John Rogers Cox, James Farrington Gookins, Janet Scudder, Caroline Peddle Ball, and Gilbert Wilson.

The Art of the American West collection includes landscapes by artists such as Joseph Henry Sharp and Walter Ufer and pottery by Maria Martinez.

Post-World War II and more contemporary artists in the collection include Mark di Suvero, Robert Indiana, Paul Jenkins, Robert Motherwell, and Andy Warhol.