Yale University Art Gallery

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Yale University Art Gallery
Established1832 (1832)
Location1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut
Coordinates41°18′30″N 72°55′52″W / 41.308459°N 72.930985°W / 41.308459; -72.930985Coordinates: 41°18′30″N 72°55′52″W / 41.308459°N 72.930985°W / 41.308459; -72.930985
TypeArt museum
DirectorStephanie Wiles (2018)

The Yale University Art Gallery, the oldest university art museum in the western hemisphere,[1] houses a significant and encyclopedic collection of art in several buildings on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Although it embraces all cultures and periods, the gallery emphasizes early Italian painting, African sculpture, and modern art. The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.


The gallery was founded in 1832, when patriot-artist John Trumbull donated more than 100 paintings of the American Revolution to Yale College and designed the original Picture Gallery.[2] This building, on the university's Old Campus, was razed in 1901.[3]

A Tuscan romanesque building, designed by Egerton Swartwout, was built in 1928.

The gallery's main building was built from 1947-1953, and was among the first designed by Louis Kahn, who taught architecture at Yale.[4] ("Kahn played a major role in Yale's own artistic development. And Yale in turn would give Kahn the commission that transformed his career as an architect.")[5] Although the Art Gallery with steel structure and reinforced concrete may seem simple to the eye, it was designed in a rigorous process.[6] Kahn and Anne Tyng, the first woman licensed as an architect in the state of Pennsylvania[7] and an employee of Kahn's independent practice, "devised a slab that was to be poured into metal forms in the shape of three-sided pyramids. When the forms were removed, they left a thick mass of concrete imprinted with tetrahedral openings."[5] The triangular ceiling of the gallery was designed by Tyng, who was fascinated by geometry and octet-truss construction.[8]

In 1998, the gallery began a major renovation and expansion. A renovation of the 1953 building was completed in December 2006 by Polshek Partnership Architects, who returned many spaces to Kahn's original vision. The project was completed on December 12, 2012, at a cost of $135 million.[4][9] The expanded space totals 69,975 sq ft (6,500.9 m2).

In December 2011 the museum announced an $11 million gift from alumnus Stephen Susman, to create new art exhibition galleries on the museum’s newly created fourth floor.[10][11][12]

In July 2018, Stephanie Wiles became the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery.[13]

Trumbull Gallery built in 1832[edit]

On the second floor was[further explanation needed] a very valuable collection of paintings by John Trumbull, mainly of historical events. Among them were his well-known paintings of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of Montgomery before Quebec, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, Declaration of Independence, etc. Trumbull gave the paintings to Yale in consideration of an annuity of $1,000 and subject to the condition that he and his wife should be forever buried beneath the pictures.[14]



The encyclopedic collections of the gallery number more than 200,000 objects ranging in date from ancient times to the present day. The permanent collection includes:[15]

In 2005, the museum announced that it had acquired 1,465 gelatin silver prints by the influential American landscape photographer Robert Adams. In 2009, the museum mounted an exhibition of its extensive collection of Picasso paintings and drawings, in collaboration with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.[2] For the first time, portions of the Yale University Library's Gertrude Stein writing archives were displayed next to relevant drawings from Picasso.[2]


As an affiliate of Yale University, the gallery offers education programs for university students, New Haven schools, and the general public. One such program is the Gallery Guide program, founded in 1998, which trains undergraduate students to lead tours at the museum.[16]


The Yale Art Gallery charges no admission.[9]


  1. ^ "Yale University Art Gallery – 1953". www.building.yale.edu. Archived from the original on August 30, 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Special Exhibit Examines Dynamic Relationship Between the Art of Pablo Picasso and Writing" (PDF). webgallery.yale.edu. Yale University Art Gallery press release. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  3. ^ Yale Art Gallery, Yale Buildings and Grounds[dead link]
  4. ^ a b Antiques Magazine, November–December 2012, 108-109.
  5. ^ a b Wiseman, Carter (2007). Louis I. Kahn: Beyond Time and Style (First ed.). W.W. Norton & Company.
  6. ^ Tyng, Alexandrea (1984). Beginnings: Louis Kahn's Philosophy of Architecture. Canada: Wiley-Interscience.
  7. ^ Schaffner, Ingrid. "Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry" (PDF). Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  8. ^ Marcus, George; Whitaker, William (2013). The Houses of Louis Kahn. Yale University Press.
  9. ^ a b Charles McGrath (December 6, 2012), A King of Art With the Midas Touch New York Times.
  10. ^ "Yale University Art Gallery announces $11 million gift to name new exhibition spaces". Yale News. 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  11. ^ "Gallery Gift Inspired by Free Drinks," The Wall Street Journal.
  12. ^ "With $11 mil donation, YUAG reopening on schedule". Yale Daily News. 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  13. ^ "Stephanie Wiles of Cornell named next director of the Yale Art Gallery". Yale News. 2018-03-28. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  14. ^ The ancestry, life and work of Addison E. Verrill of Yale University. p. 60.
  15. ^ a b Yale Art Gallery
  16. ^ Tom, Sullivan. "Student gallery guides help illuminate Yale's art collections". Yale Daily News. Retrieved April 10, 2015.

External links[edit]