museums of art: The United States

The foremost repositories of art in the U.S. include, in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art , the richest and most comprehensive American collection of world art (much of the museum's superb medieval collection is housed separately in the Cloisters ); the Museum of Modern Art ; the Frick Collection, the dwelling and outstanding acquisitions of the industrialist Henry Clay Frick; the Whitney Museum of American Art ; the American Folk Art Museum; the Guggenheim Museum , exhibiting primarily the works of contemporary European and American artists; the Pierpont Morgan Library , housing a vast number of important illuminated manuscripts; the Hispanic Society Gallery; the New-York Historical Society , noted for its 19th-century American paintings and Audubon collection; the Brooklyn Museum, strong in Egyptian and American art; and the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.

In Boston the Museum of Fine Arts houses a major collection of American paintings, including the largest number of works by Copley and Stuart in the nation and a magnificent collection of East Asian art; and the Gardner Museum (see under Gardner, Isabella Stewart ) holds a remarkable private collection in an unusual setting. In Cambridge, Mass., the Fogg Museum of Art of Harvard owns a great number of American works and has fine Italian art and graphic arts collections.

In Washington, D.C. the Smithsonian Institution operates several major art galleries: the Freer Gallery of Art, notable for its many works by Whistler and its East Asian art collection; the National Museum of American Art and the adjoining National Portrait Gallery; The National Museum of African Art; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, a collection of Asian art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, devoted to modern art; and the Renwick Gallery of American design. The National Gallery of Art , an affiliated institution, houses Washington's principal collection of European and American art in two buildings. Other major collections in Washington include those of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (now part of the National Gallery; see under Corcoran, William Wilson ) and the Phillips Collection, both of which are strong in American works.

Other collections of note in the eastern United States include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, N.Y.); the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum; the Wadsworth Athenaeum (Hartford, Conn.); the Yale Univ. Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.) and its collection of British art; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art , noted for its many works by Eakins (both: Philadelphia); the Barnes Collection (Merion, Pa.), a superb private gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist works; the Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh); and the Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore).

In the Midwest and South the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum , the Art Institute of Chicago , Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Ark., and the museums and galleries of Detroit, Columbus (Ohio), Toledo, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Kansas City (Mo.), and New Orleans are outstanding. The major collections in the West include the Gilcrease Institute (Tulsa, Okla.), the Dallas Museum of Art, the Kimbell Museum (Fort Worth, Tex.), the Huntington Library and Art Gallery (San Marino, Calif.), the Los Angeles County Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art (both: Los Angeles), the Getty Center (Brentwood, Calif.), and the San Francisco Museum of Art and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Art museums