Timeless masterpieces and new treasures: Yale Art Gallery holds grand opening

Photos: Yale community gets sneak peek at expanded Yale Art Gallery

A view of the sculpture terrace with Henry Moore’s "Draped Seated Woman" (1957-1958) and Aristide Maillol’s "L’Air" (1938).
A class in the American paintings and sculpture galleries, Street Hall.
The modern and contemporary art galleries with paintings by Edward Hopper, Old Yale Art Gallery.
Visitors in the lobby of the Louis Kahn building.
Modern and contemporaries galleries with works by Josef Albers, Louis Kahn building.
American decorative arts galleries, Street Hall.
Director Jock Reynolds leads a group of visitors in the modern and contemporary art galleries, Louis Kahn building.
A class in the American paintings and sculpture galleries, Street Hall.
Indo-Pacific art galleries in the Louis Kahn building.
American decorative arts.
The ancient art sculpture hall, Old Yale Art Gallery.
The modern and contemporary art galleries.
The modern and contemporary art galleries.
The glass enclosed Street Hall elevator.
The modern and contemporary galleries, Louis Kahn building.
A view of the American paintings and sculpture galleries in Street Hall.
A View of the sculpture terrace with Aristide Maillol’s "Printemps" (1911), Henry Moore’s "Draped Seated Woman" (1957-1958) and Maillol’s "L’Air" (1938).
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Yale University
 Art Gallery will celebrate the grand opening of
 the renovated and expanded museum on Wednesday, Dec 12.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon, Jock Reynolds, the Henry H. Heinz II Director of the Gallery; Yale President-Elect Peter Salovey; Yale College Dean Mary Miller; and Mayor John DeStefano will deliver remarks as they unveil the expanded spaces and newly installed galleries. The celebration continues with special tours and programs the weekend of Dec. 15-16. Click here for details.

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, note Yale Art Gallery officials.

The gallery has hosted a series preview events leading up to the grand reopening. During Yale Community Preview Day on Dec. 6, more than 1,500 Yale students, faculty, and staff visited the museum for walkthroughs of the newly installed spaces and talks in the galleries. During Members and Alumni Preview Weekend Dec. 8-9, nearly 1,400 Yale graduates and Members of the Yale Art Museums enjoyed staff-led tours and curatorial talks, and Reynolds gave a brief history of the museum. See the video of his talk.

Yale Art Gallery director Jock Reynolds presents a Brief History of the museum.

“The reinstallation of the gallery following its renovation and expansion is a stunning testament to the transformation that this project has achieved,” noted Reynolds. “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 renovation and expansion project has united three historic buildings into a cohesive whole, while maintaining the distinctive architectural identity of each structure. The renovation 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 structures, 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 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 expanded spaces now feature more than 4,000 objects, including many favorites, new acquisitions, and rarely exhibited works from the museum’s collections. New installations feature ancient art, American art, European art, 20th- and 21st-century art and design, photography, African art, and Asian art, as well as a new collection of Indo-Pacific art.

Recent acquisitions range from paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, and prints to decorative arts and design objects. The works encompass a broad range of cultures and historic eras, reflecting the gallery’s efforts to expand the reach of its collection to represent more accurately the diversity and scope of world culture.

Designated collection galleries 
include those devoted to African, Asian, Indo-
Pacific, and modern art, which are located in the Louis 
Kahn building; art of the ancient Americas, ancient art, European art, coins and medals, photography, and contemporary art, which are located
 in the Old Yale Art Gallery; and American
 paintings and sculpture and American decorative 
arts, which are 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.

The permanent collection installations are complemented by two special exhibitions featuring the Société Anonyme Collection, a renowned anthology of European and American art of the early 20th century, and a special display of contemporary sculpture.

The Yale University Art Gallery, America’s oldest university art museum — and considered one of the country’s most important ones — offers the largest collection of free art in the country outside of the nation’s capital. The museum 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 include more than 200,000 objects, spanning the globe and ranging in date from ancient times to the present day.

A museum of international distinction, the gallery is recognized 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.

The Yale University Art Gallery, located at 1111 Chapel St. (at York St.), offers free exhibitions, lectures, tours, symposia, and other public programs, and serves as a teaching resource for Yale students, faculty, scholars and the global community at large. As part of its efforts to share its collections with a broader public, it also organizes traveling exhibitions, which are presented at museums across the country as well as internationally. Museum admission is free.  (www.artgallery.yale.edu.)