Yale University Art Gallery
The Yale University Art Gallery has partnered with Artstor to share nearly 2,000 images from its permanent collection through the Digital Library. The collection consists of a selection of approximately 1,000 highlights from the permanent collection, with an additional 250 images focusing on African art. Artstor is also sponsoring a pilot project to produce three-dimensional imagery for African objects housed at the Gallery and the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University. Through an ongoing collaboration, both museums seek to provide greater access to their unique permanent collections and develop an integrated digital collection in Artstor that brings together materials currently housed at separate Yale institutions. As part of this partnership, the Gallery will also contribute approximately 18,000 images related to the archaeological expeditions at Dura-Europos and Gerasa, which were sponsored by Yale University. Additionally, approximately 600 images from the Yale University Art Gallery's collection are now available as high-resolution downloads; for more information see Images for Academic Publishing.
The Yale University Art Gallery opened to the public in 1832. At the time, its collections consisted of a small initial donation of paintings and miniature portraits made by John Trumbull, a history painter and portraitist. Since then, the Art Gallery's permanent collection has grown to include over 185,000 works, divided among ten curatorial departments: African Art, American Decorative Arts, American Paintings and Sculpture, Ancient Art, Art of the Ancient Americas, Asian Art, Coins and Medals, Early European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. Previously dispersed in various locations throughout the university, Yale's art collections were first united in 1928, with the construction of the Gallery of Fine Art designed by architect Egerton Swartwout. The museum reopened in 1953 as the Yale University Art Gallery and Design Center, in a new building designed by architect Louis I. Kahn. Widely regarded as Kahn's first masterpiece, the Art Gallery was also Kahn's first major public commission. Kahn's modernist structure, constructed from brick, concrete, glass, and steel, stands in contrast to the neo-Gothic style that characterizes the rest of Yale's campus, including the nearby Swartwout building. A recent restoration and renovation campaign has restored the purity and integrity of Kahn's original design, which employed bold engineering innovations and geometric forms to create expansive spaces that play with light and shadow. The second floor of the renovated Art Gallery features a new permanent gallery devoted to the arts of Africa. Its centerpiece is the Charles B. Benenson collection, which is noted for its selection of ritual figures and masks from West and Central Africa. The 500+ objects in the Benenson collection, acquired in 2004 as one of the largest single gifts of art to the university, transformed the Art Gallery into one of the most important repositories of African art in the United States.