The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, is a vibrant museum of modern and contemporary art. It is one of the oldest museums dedicated to the art of our time, and the sixth oldest public art institution in the United States. It was founded in December 1862 as the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. For more than 150 years, the museum has collected, conserved, and exhibited art, often working directly with living artists. This tradition has given rise to one of the world’s most extraordinary art collections.
The museum’s collections span some of the greatest moments in art through the centuries, beginning with "The Marina Piccola, Capri," 1859, by Albert Bierstadt—both the first painting and the first work gifted by an artist to enter the museum’s collection. Impressionism and post-Impressionism are well represented with works by leading nineteenth-century European artists such as Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh. Cubism, Surrealism, Constructivism, and other movements from the revolutionary early years of the 20th century come to life through significant works by Georges Braque, André Derain, Frida Kahlo, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alexander Rodchenko, and Pablo Picasso.
The collection is especially rich in postwar American and European art. Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Op art, and art from the 1970s through the end of the 20th century are well represented, including exceptional works from Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Jasper Johns, Franz Kline, Roy Lichtenstein, Marisol, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and many others. The museum holds the world’s second largest collection of works by the Abstract Expressionist painter Clyfford Still, with 33 paintings (31 of which were gifted by the artist). It is also the world's largest repository of the work of Marisol, who bequeathed her estate, including more than 100 sculptures, to the museum in 2016.
The Albright-Knox continues to add to this collection, and seeks to represent the most important voices in contemporary art of the 21st century. In recent years, the museum has acquired major works by artists such as Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Tara Donovan, Harun Farocki, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Theaster Gates, Rodney Graham, Subodh Gupta, Mona Hatoum, Sopheap Pich, Jaume Plensa, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Cindy Sherman, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Jeff Wall, Rachel Whiteread, and many others. These additions to the collection ensure that future generations will continue to discover the incredible diversity of international modern and contemporary art during visits to the Albright-Knox.
[Cover photograph © Blake Dawson]