The American collection of painting and sculpture at the Snite Museum is representative of the subjects, styles, and issues that prevailed here from the eighteenth century. Characteristic of American art is the prevalence of realistic portraits and landscapes.

Gilbert Stuart's portraits of the Marquess and Marchioness of Waterford, ca. 1787–92, are typical of the period. Landscapes by a number of well-known artists, such as Asher B. Durand and George Inness, and portraits by Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, and William Merritt Chase suggest both the connections to and deviations from European traditions.

Among highlights from the West and Southwest regions are paintings by Victor Higgins, Walter Ufer, Charles Russell, and Frederic Remington.

The Sansom Foundation has been very generous with gifts and loans of paintings and drawings by William Glackens, one of the co-founders of the Ashcan School in New York in the early part of the twentieth century.