Terra Foundation for American Art

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The Terra Foundation for American Art is a privately operated nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of American art exhibitions, projects, academic research, and publications worldwide. Its goal is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the cultural and artistic heritage of the United States through the acquisition, study, and display of works of American art. The Foundation was established by Daniel J. Terra in 1978 along with the Terra Museum of American Art, which opened in 1980. Terra was a businessman and art collector who used his own collection of influential American art to realize the goals of the Foundation. The Foundation is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

The Terra Foundation uses its endowment to award grants for exhibitions, fellowships, symposia, research, publications, and academic programs, with a special focus on international initiatives and local Chicago initiatives. It works closely with educators, scholars, curators, and museums.

Despite the closure of the Museum in 2004, the Foundation continues to actively collect paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and other objects representing achievement in American art from the late eighteenth century to 1945. The collection currently comprises hundreds of works by artists such as John Singleton Copley, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley, and Edward Hopper. The Foundation lends these works to institutions and exhibitions worldwide and maintains a comprehensive database of the collection. A selection of Terra Foundation paintings remains on long-term loan to the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Institute also houses the Foundation’s collection of works on paper.[1] [2]

The Foundation has longstanding presence in France. In 1992, it opened the Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, a museum managed in partnership with the French government and the Musée d’Orsay which focuses on international impressionism. In 2009, the Terra Foundation opened its Paris Center to support its programs in Europe. The Paris Center houses the only research library in Europe dedicated exclusively to American art and transatlantic artistic exchange.


  1. ^ "Terra Museum of American Art to close". Telegraph-Herald. June 22, 2003. 
  2. ^ Misha Davenport (April 14, 2005). "New exhibit on Terra firma;Collections unite to capture 'the sweep of American culture'". Chicago Sun-Times. 

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