Whitney Museum of American Art

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Whitney Museum of American Art

Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York City, founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney with a core group of 700 art objects, many from her own collection. The museum was an outgrowth of the Whitney Studio (1914–18), the Whitney Studio Club (1918–28), and the Whitney Studio Galleries (1928–30). Opened to the public in 1931, the museum has actively supported American art and continues its support through the purchase and exhibition of the work of living artists. Its extensive permanent collection contains some 12,000 sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints, multimedia works and installations, and photographs, which are exhibited regularly. The collection is particularly rich in works by Charles Burchfield, Alexander Calder, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Gaston Lachaise, Reginald Marsh, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, and Georgia O'Keeffe. Biennial shows of works in various media provide comprehensive reviews of each year's American art. The Whitney's spacious Madison Avenue building was designed by Marcel Breuer and opened in 1966.

See A. D. Weinberg, American Art of the Twentieth Century: Treasures of the Whitney Museum of American Art (1997); F. M. Biddle, The Whitney Women and the Museum They Made: A Family Memoir (1999); M. L. Anderson, American Visionaries: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art (2002).

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