The Yale University Art Gallery’s American paintings and sculpture collection was reinstalled in summer 2017, refreshing the presentation of the Gallery’s renowned collection of American fine art from the colonial period to the early 20th century. The new layouts of the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation Galleries of American Art before 1900 and the Mary Jo and Ted Shen Gallery have reoriented the story of American art for our visitors, and the display was also conceived with the flexibility to integrate rotations of light-sensitive artworks that showcase the richness and depth of the Gallery’s collection. We hope that you will come, enjoy, rediscover old favorites, and find some new ones.
The newly reinstalled collection is introduced by General George Washington at Trenton (1792), John Trumbull’s celebrated full-length portrait that he painted from life, so that visitors may begin their exploration of American art with an iconic figure of the American Revolution. From there, the extraordinary collection of the colonial and Federal periods spotlights the idealism and conviction that shaped the nation’s early identity. The ensuing display across Street Hall features the ambition and ambivalence of American art from the mid- to late 19th century, as expansion and conflict transformed the character of the country. A dedicated focus gallery, which will rotate two or three times per year, draws out themes and special topics from the Gallery’s deep holdings. Finally, the modern gallery, which is located on the bridge above High Street that connects Street Hall to the Old Yale Art Gallery building, has been opened up and its floating walls removed to allow visitors to explore the space more freely.
Mark D. Mitchell
The Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture