Yale University Art Gallery
Yale University Art Gallery's Louis Kahn Building (left) is connected to the Old Yale Art Gallery (right)
Established1832 (1832)
Location1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Coordinates41°18′30″N 72°55′52″W / 41.308459°N 72.930985°W / 41.308459; -72.930985
TypeArt museum
DirectorStephanie Wiles since 2018
Public transit accessBus transport 237, 238, 241, 243, 246, 254, 255

The Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) is the oldest university art museum in the Western Hemisphere.[1] It houses a major encyclopedic collection of art in several interconnected buildings on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Although it embraces all cultures and periods, the gallery emphasizes early Italian Renaissance painting, African sculpture, and modern art.


19th century

View of the Louis Kahn-designed galleries

The gallery was founded in 1832 when patriot artist John Trumbull donated over 100 paintings of the American Revolution to Yale College and designed the original picture gallery.[2][3] This building on the university's Old Campus was razed in 1901.[4]

Street Hall, designed by Peter Bonnett Wight, was opened as the Yale School of the Fine Arts in 1866, and included exhibition galleries on the second floor. The exterior was in a neo-Gothic style, with an appearance influenced by 13th-century Venetian palaces. These spaces are the oldest ones still in use as part of the Yale University Art Gallery.[2]

20th century

A new building, designed by Yale University architect Egerton Swartwout, was completed in 1928. This building features a deliberately eclectic mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Classical features, with cornices, a pitched slate roof, and large windows set within stone arches, and was connected to Street Hall by an enclosed bridge over High Street. It was ultimately known as the "Old Yale Art Gallery" to contrast it with the modernist expansion added a couple of decades later.[2]

The gallery's modernist main building, built from 1947 to 1953, was among the first designed by Louis Kahn, who taught architecture at Yale.[5]("Kahn played a major role in Yale's own artistic development. And Yale in turn would give Kahn the commission that transformed his career as an architect.")[6] Although the Art Gallery with steel structure and reinforced concrete may seem simple to the eye, it was designed in a rigorous process.[7] Kahn and Anne Tyng, the first woman licensed as an architect in the state of Pennsylvania[8] and an employee of Kahn's independent practice, "devised a slab that was to be poured into metal forms in the shape of three-sided pyramids. When the forms were removed, they left a thick mass of concrete imprinted with tetrahedral openings."[6] The triangular ceiling of the gallery was designed by Tyng, who was fascinated by geometry and octet-truss construction.[9]

Kahn's addition "was...a box...of glass, steel, concrete, and tiny beige bricks", and had none of the features of the earlier galleries. One critic said that Kahn's building "could have scarcely have been distinguished from a Woolco discount store in a shopping center", and that the interior looked like an "underground parking garage".[10]: 50 

In 1998, the gallery began a major renovation and expansion. A renovation of the 1953 building was completed in December 2006 by Polshek Partnership Architects, who returned many spaces to Kahn's original vision.

21st century

The project was completed on December 12, 2012, at a cost of $135 million, under then-director Jock Reynolds.[5][11] The expanded space totals 69,975 sq ft (6,500.9 m2).[12]

In December 2011, the museum announced an $11 million gift from alumnus Stephen Susman, to create additional art exhibition galleries in a newly created fourth floor atop the Old Yale Art Gallery building.[13][14] The expansion was completed in 2012, and included space for a rooftop sculpture garden.[2][15]

Trumbull Gallery built in 1832

See also: John Trumbull

This section contains too many or overly lengthy quotations. Please help summarize the quotations. Consider transferring direct quotations to Wikiquote or excerpts to Wikisource. (March 2024)

On the second floor (of the gallery) was a very valuable collection of paintings by John Trumbull, mainly of historical events. Among them were his well-known paintings of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of Montgomery before Quebec, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, Declaration of Independence, etc. Trumbull gave the paintings to Yale in consideration of an annuity of $1,000 and subject to the condition that he and his wife should be forever buried beneath the pictures.

— George E. Verrill, The Ancestry, Life and Work of Addison E. Verrill of Yale University[16]



The encyclopedic collections of the gallery number more than 200,000 objects ranging in date from ancient times to the present day. The permanent collection includes:[17]

In 2005, the museum announced that it had acquired 1,465 gelatin silver prints by the influential American landscape photographer Robert Adams. In 2009, the museum mounted an exhibition of its extensive collection of Picasso paintings and drawings, in collaboration with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.[3] For the first time, portions of the Yale University Library's Gertrude Stein writing archives were displayed next to relevant drawings from Picasso.[3]

In April 2022, the museum surrendered 13 South Asian artifacts, valued at more than $1 million, as part of art looting investigation.[18]


As an affiliate of Yale University, the gallery offers education programs for university students, New Haven schools, and the general public. Two such programs are: the Gallery Guide program, founded in 1998, which trains undergraduate students to lead tours at the museum; and the Wurtele Gallery Teachers, established in 2006, which include Yale graduate students from all school and backgrounds, who give curricula-informed tours to K-12 audiences.[19]

The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program, but charges no admission.[11]


This section needs expansion with: Description of governance and relationship to Yale University. You can help by adding to it. (February 2021)

From 1946 to 1948, George Heard Hamilton was associate director at Yale University Art Gallery.

In July 2018, Stephanie Wiles became the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery.[20]


  1. ^ "Yale University Art Gallery – 1953". www.building.yale.edu. Archived from the original on August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Architecture". Yale University Art Gallery. Yale University. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Special Exhibit Examines Dynamic Relationship Between the Art of Pablo Picasso and Writing" (PDF). webgallery.yale.edu. Yale University Art Gallery press release. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Yale Art Gallery, Yale Buildings and Grounds[dead link]
  5. ^ a b Antiques Magazine, November–December 2012, 108-109.
  6. ^ a b Wiseman, Carter (2007). Louis I. Kahn: Beyond Time and Style (First ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-73165-1.
  7. ^ Tyng, Alexandrea (1984). Beginnings: Louis Kahn's Philosophy of Architecture. New York: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-86586-5. OCLC 757290973.
  8. ^ Schaffner, Ingrid. "Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry" (PDF). Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  9. ^ Marcus, George; Whitaker, William (2013). The Houses of Louis Kahn. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-17118-1.
  10. ^ Wolfe, Tom (1981). From Bauhaus to Our House. New York: Picador. ISBN 978-0-312-42914-0.
  11. ^ a b McGrath, Charles (December 6, 2012). "A King of Art With the Midas Touch". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  12. ^ McManus, David (December 10, 2012). "Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven Building". e-architect. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  13. ^ West, Melanie Grayce (January 6, 2012). "Gallery Gift Inspired by Free Drinks". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  14. ^ "Yale University Art Gallery announces $11 million gift to name new exhibition spaces". Yale News. December 21, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  15. ^ Nopany, Urvi; am, Tapley Stephenson 2:31 (January 10, 2012). "With $11 mil donation, YUAG reopening on schedule". Yale Daily News. Retrieved February 25, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Verrill, George E. (1958). The ancestry, life and work of Addison E. Verrill of Yale University. Santa Barbara: Pacific Coast Pub. Co. p. 60. OCLC 19228392.
  17. ^ a b "Yale University Art Gallery |". artgallery.yale.edu. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  18. ^ Mashberg, Tom (April 1, 2022). "Yale Museum Surrenders Items as Part of Art Looting Investigation". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  19. ^ Tom, Sullivan (January 15, 2003). "Student gallery guides help illuminate Yale's art collections". Yale Daily News. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  20. ^ "Stephanie Wiles of Cornell named next director of the Yale Art Gallery". Yale News. March 28, 2018. Retrieved May 24, 2020.