Yale University Art Gallery

New Haven
CT

The renovated Art Gallery comprises three structures — Street Hall, the Old Art Gallery building, and the Kahn building. Below, John Trumbull and contemporaries.

QUICK FACTS
  • The original neoclassical Picture Gallery had two large skylit rooms on the upper floor for the display of art. The north gallery was devoted to Trumbull’s paintings; the south gallery displayed paintings by other artists, including John Smibert, Ralph Earl, and Samuel F.B. Morse.
  • When collection in the Picture Gallery moved to Street Hall in 1867, the original building served as office space until it was demolished in 1901.
  • John Trumbull and his wife are buried in a stone tomb beneath the Old Art Gallery.
LINKS
LOCATION

Home to one of the finest collections of early American art anywhere, the Yale University Art Gallery was founded in 1832 when John Trumbull gave more than one hundred of his portraits and historical paintings to Yale and designed a Picture Gallery for them. It is the oldest university art museum in the western hemisphere.

In December 2012 the Yale University Art Gallery reopened to the public after completing a ten-year renovation and expansion. It comprises three structures — Street Hall (1866), the Old Art Gallery building (1928), and the modernist and magnificent Louis Kahn building (1953).

The art of Trumbull and his contemporaries and other early American art are located in Street Hall (the building designed by Trumbull was razed in 1901).

Associated People

Lafayette’s years in America had given him the most glorious career it was possible for a youth of his disposition to imagine. He had fought for a noble cause, and won the love of a nation. George Washington sent him admiring and heart-sore letters after the marquis returned to France; the state of Virginia presented a bust of him to the city of Paris; the island of Nantucket sent him a 500-pound cheese. Lafayette cherished the love he had earned overseas, and never let the French forget it. When his first two children were born, he named the boy George Washington and the girl Virginia. At his Paris household, his family spoke English, and his messenger was dressed as an American Indian.

Richard Brookhiser
Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution (2003)