UMFA is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museums permanent art collections include over 17,000 works of art.
Works of the European tradition from the 14th to the 19th centuries include such artists as Filippo Lippi, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Paolo Panini, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Thomas Gainsborough, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and Auguste Rodin. Represented American artists include Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, and John Singer Sargent. Modern and contemporary holdings include Helen Frankenthaler, Yayoi Kusama, Nancy Holt, and Robert Smithson. The museum's non-Western collections have particular strength in works from India, Polynesia, and Mesoamerica.