The Petach Tikva Museum of Art Collection took shape under unique collectorial circumstances based on ideological values. Its nucleus contains over 3,000 Israeli art works, spanning paintings and sculptures thematically centered on Israel's wars, heroism, and the local landscape. Its foundations were works pertaining to memory and commemorations gathered during the construction of the city's Yad Labanim house, the first in Israel, in 1951. This commemorative enterprise, which was awarded the Israel Prize (1980), included an art gallery alongside the commemoration site, and was meant to be an active center of culture and art. As the collection expanded, a new art museum was inaugurated in 1964. The works in the collection trace the history of Israeli art, from works of the "Bezalel" school dating to the early 20th century, through local landscapes from the 1920s, works from the 1930s surrendering French and German influences, works of the New Horizons artists from the 1950s, works of the Jewish School of Paris, as well as a selection of prominent works from recent decades.
The collection includes oil paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, reliefs, and mosaics gathered from bequests, gifts, and acquisitions. The story of the collection exposes fascinating chapters in the evolution of Israeli art, touching upon commemoration, heroism, the story of the Zionist ethos, local identity, and various currents in the history of art.
A broad and interesting representation of the city's artists and vistas is found in the work of Zvi Shorr, Amiram Tamari, Yehiel Krize, and Raphael Mohar. Works by Zeev Ben Zvi, Jacob Eisensher, Aharon Giladi, Aharon Kahana, Dov Feigin, Israel Paldi, Aaron Priver, as well as mosaics by Yaacov Wexler and Mordechai Gumpel, represent the themes of independence and memory.
The Bezalel School is represented by the works of Boris Schatz, E.M. Lilien, Abel Pann, Meir Gur-Arie, and Aharon Shaul Schur. The 1920s—by the work of Nahum Gutman and Haim Gliksberg. The 1930s and the French influence are represented by the work of Chaim Atar and Mordechai Levanon, and the German influence—by the work of Anna Ticho, Ludwig Blum, Jacob Steinhardt, and Isidor Aschheim. The New Horizons group is represented by the work of Pinchas Abramovich, Arie Aroch, Shimon Avni, Yosef Zaritsky, Lea Nikel, Zvi Mairovich, Avigdor Stematsky, Yohanan Simon, Yehiel Krize, Avraham Naton, Moshe Kupferman, and Yehezkel Streichman.
The collection also includes several unique, personal collections which came to the Museum in various ways, including the Ruja and Arie Dobron Collection; Zvi Shorr Collection; Naum Aronson Collection; and Dani Mass Collection.
Upon the Museum's reopening in November 2004 the collection was enlarged by the addition of paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, installations, and video works by contemporary artists, among them Orit Adar Bechar, Aya Ben Ron, Meirav Heiman, Moshe Gershuni, Uri Gershuni, Yossef-Joseph Dadoune, Erez Israeli, Assi Meshullam, Sharon Poliakine, Dina Shenhav, David Adika, Keren Assaf, and others.
Works from the collection are presented in changing exhibitions in the Museum's Collection Gallery, concurrently serving as an important resource for loans to various museums in Israel and the world over.