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Buffalo AKG

The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, founded in 1862, is among the nation’s oldest public arts institutions, sharing that distinction with the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford; and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, among others. At the turn of the twentieth century, local philanthropist John J. Albright donated funds for a new building and Edward B. Green of Green & Wicks was approved as the architect. This building became the permanent home for the Albright Art Gallery, dedicated on May 31, 1905.

E.B. Green was responsible for the design of numerous private residences and commercial and academic buildings in Buffalo; his work is also figured prominently in Ithaca, at Cornell University. Green’s significant museum commissions include a landmark neoclassical structure with an Ionic façade for the Toledo Art Museum and the Dayton Art Institute, modeled after the Villa d’Este near Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola in Italy.

Subsequently, Seymour H. Knox, Jr. became the Gallery’s most influential supporter. Knox made it possible to construct a new addition designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and during his lifetime, amassed a brilliant collection of more than 700 artworks, donating it all to the Gallery. The new modernist wing was dedicated in 1962, one hundred years after the founding of the Academy, standing as a testament to Mr. Knox and his vision. The generosity of Seymour H. Knox, Jr. was reflected in the institution’s adoption of a new name, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

The Gallery’s 150-year tradition of collecting, conserving, and exhibiting the art of its time has given rise to one of the world’s most extraordinary art collections, including such renowned works as Pablo Picasso’s La Toilette, 1906, acquired in 1926; Joan Miró’s Carnival of Harlequin, 1924-25, acquired in 1940; Willem de Kooning’s Gotham News, 1955, acquired in 1955; Arshile Gorky’s The Liver is the Cock’s Comb, 1944, acquired in 1956; and Jackson Pollock’s Convergence, 1952, acquired in 1956. The Gallery has continued to add cutting-edge contemporary art to its Collection, acquiring major works in recent years by such artists as Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Tara Donovan, Teresita Fernandez, Liam Gillick, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mona Hatoum, Jim Lambie, Catherine Opie, Jorge Pardo, Nancy Rubins, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Philip Taaffe.

Under the initiative of Gallery Director Louis Grachos, the Albright-Knox, in conjunction with the Carnegie Museum of Art, became the nation’s first museum to jointly acquire a major, large-scale contemporary work–Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled (Domestic), 2002. Today, constantly changing installations and special exhibitions pair current innovations in contemporary art with masterworks of modernism, inviting provocative and energetic reexaminations of the old with the new.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user JasonParis CC BY-ND 2.0

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1285 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, New York
United States

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