Grand Opening of Reinstalled Gallery Follows Multi-Year Renovation and Expansion Uniting Three Historic Buildings

Project enables Gallery to show more than 4,000 works, including some 1,100 new acquisitions; present a greater diversity of special exhibitions; and expand its education programming for the Yale community and the public at large

On December 12, 2012, the Yale University Art Gallery celebrates the grand opening of the renovated and expanded museum. This important initiative, which has been accompanied by parallel growth in the museum’s holdings, has enabled the Gallery not only to enhance its role as one of the nation’s preeminent teaching institutions, but also to join the ranks of the country’s leading public art museums.

The $135 million* project has increased the space occupied by the museum from one-and-a-half buildings—the 1953 modernist structure designed by Louis Kahn and approximately half of the 1928 Old Yale Art Gallery, designed by Egerton Swartwout—to three, encompassing the Kahn building, the entire Old Yale Art Gallery, and the contiguous 1866 Street Hall, designed by Peter Bonnett Wight (and home to the Gallery from 1867 to 1928). The project—designed and led by Duncan Hazard, Management Partner, and Richard Olcott, Design Partner, in the New York City–based Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership)—has united the three buildings into a cohesive whole while maintaining the distinctive architectural identity of each.

Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, notes, “The reinstallation of the Gallery following its renovation and expansion is a stunning testament to the transformation that this project has achieved. The new galleries are superb places for viewing art, with space for generous installations in which recently acquired works provide new perspectives on longtime favorites. At last visitors can fully experience the remarkable depth and sweep of the Gallery’s holdings. We are deeply grateful to all of the Yale friends and alumni—including our Governing Board—who have made this initiative possible, and especially for the visionary leadership of Yale President Richard C. Levin, who has supported the project from its inception.”

The expanded and renovated Gallery contains 69,975 square feet of exhibition space, compared to 40,266 square feet prior to the expansion, and occupies the length of one-and-a-half city blocks. The Gallery’s eleven curatorial departments were all involved in planning for the project and in the reinstallation. Designated collection galleries include those devoted to African, Asian, Indo-Pacific, and modern art, located in the Louis Kahn building; art of the ancient Americas, ancient art, European art, coins and medals, photography, and contemporary art, located in the Old Yale Art Gallery; and American paintings and sculpture and American decorative arts, located in Street Hall. Works on paper are integrated into a number of the galleries, and the reinstalled museum also features a number of study galleries, including one on the arts of Islam; the new Nolen Center for Art and Education; and three special-exhibition galleries.

* This figure includes the renovation and restoration of the Louis Kahn building, Old Yale Art Gallery, and Street Hall.

The complete media kit, available for download above, includes the following:

Project Press Release

Design and Construction Fact Sheet

Renovation and Expansion Image Sheet

Collections Overview

Floor Plan

Gallery Backgrounder

Education Backgrounder


Indo-Pacific Art Press Release

Special Exhibitions Press Release

Ennead Architects Backgrounder