Yale Center for British Art honored for work with Royal Academy

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The Yale Center for British Art has been awarded the 2012 Benjamin West Award from the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust (AARAT).

The award is given each year to an individual or institution “that has shown extraordinary commitment to Anglo-American friendship and generosity to the arts,” according to the announcement.

“We always have enjoyed the happiest and most productive collaborations with museums and research institutions in the United Kingdom, and we have a special partnership with the Royal Academy that we will continue to promote with the greatest pleasure into the coming years,” says Amy Meyers, director of the Yale Center for British Art.

The Benjamin West Award is named for the American-born painter, a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and its second president. West (1738-1820) was one of the first American artists to be widely known in London, and is often referred to as the “American Raphael.”

The center’s long association with the Royal Academy dates back to Paul Mellon’s exhibition of his growing collection of British art (eventually given to the center) at the academy from 1964 to 1965. The center has continued rich collaborations with the Royal Academy in the form of exhibitions, publications, symposia, and workshops.

In 2007 the two institutions jointly organized an exhibition celebrating the centennial of the birth of Paul Mellon. The exhibition, “Paul Mellon’s Legacy: A Passion for British Art,” opened at the Yale center and featured more than 250 objects from its collection. A selection of major works traveled to the Royal Academy in early 2008, many of which had not been seen by the British public since the center opened. More recently, the two institutions organized a retrospective on the artist Johan Zoffany that opened at Yale in fall 2011 and traveled to the Royal Academy in spring 2012.

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