Yale University Art Gallery announces $11 million gift to name new exhibition spaces

The Yale University Art Gallery has received an $11 million commitment from Stephen D. Susman, a member of the Yale College Class of 1962, to support the creation of new exhibition galleries as part of the museum’s current renovation and expansion.

The galleries, located on the newly created fourth floor of the Old Yale Art Gallery, will be dedicated to rotating special exhibitions. When the expanded Yale University Art Gallery opens to the public in December 2012, these spaces will be known as the Stephen Susman Galleries.

“The gallery’s 10-year renovation and expansion program has attracted the participation of many loyal and generous supporters, and Steve Susman’s gift comes at a critical time,” says President Richard C. Levin. “With the opening of the expanded facility only a year away, this commitment ensures that the project will be completed and the galleries fully installed in time for our grand opening celebration.”

“The Stephen Susman Galleries will become a primary destination for Yale students and visitors to campus, as they will feature continuous special exhibitions drawn from the gallery’s remarkably diverse collections, as well as shows touring to Yale from other museums,” remarked Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery. “It is wonderful to have a benefactor who so highly values from his own personal experience the pleasure and knowledge that can be derived from directly encountering great original works of art.”

The Yale University Art Gallery has remained open throughout its renovation and expansion project. The completion of the first phase of the project was marked with the opening of the renovated 1953 Louis Kahn building in December 2006. In December 2012, visitors will be able to see exhibitions not only in the Kahn building but also in the renovated 1928 Old Yale Art Gallery, designed by Egerton Swartwout, B.A. 1891, and 1866 Street Hall, designed by Peter Bonnett Wight, as well as an expansion created by Ennead Architects LLP, in which the Stephen Susman Galleries will be located.

A resident of Houston, Texas, Susman has been a member of the Yale University Art Gallery governing board since 1998 and is making the gift in honor of his 50th reunion. “As a Yale student, I became interested in art when I spent time with artist and professor Josef Albers,” said Susman. “My wife Ellen and I have had so much pleasure from collecting contemporary art, and I am proud the Stephen Susman Galleries will serve the thousands of visitors who enjoy this exceptional art museum free of charge. I was able to do this because my father’s Yale classmates gave me a scholarship to attend Yale and because of my Yale education. I was inspired to do it because my brother, his children, and mine received the same excellent Yale education.”

The Yale University Art Gallery, America’s oldest and one of its most important university art museums, was founded in 1832, when patriot-artist John Trumbull donated more than 100 of his paintings to
 Yale College. Since then, the gallery’s collections have grown to number more than 185,000 objects, spanning the globe and ranging in date from ancient times to the present day. In addition to its celebrated collections of American paintings and decorative arts, the gallery is noted for its important holdings of Greek and Roman art; early Italian paintings; later European art; Asian art; African art; Indo-Pacific art; art of the ancient Americas; and Impressionist, modern, and contemporary works.