Yale Center for British Art New Haven
The Yale Center for British Art is both a public museum and a research institute. It houses the most comprehensive collection of British paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and rare books outside Great Britain. The Center was established by a gift from Paul Mellon (Yale College Class of 1929) of his British art collection to Yale in 1966. Together with an endowment for operations of the Center, and funds for a building to house the works of art. The building was designed by Louis I. Kahn and constructed at the corner of York and Chapel Streets in New Haven, across the street from one of Kahn’s earliest buildings, the Yale University Art Gallery, built in 1953.
The Yale Center for British Art was completed after Kahn’s death in 1974, and opened to the public on April 15, 1977. The exterior is made of matte steel and reflective glass; the interior is made of travertine marble, white oak, and Belgian linen. Kahn succeeded in creating intimate galleries where one can view objects in diffused natural light. He wanted to allow in as much daylight as possible, with artificial illumination used only on dark days or in the evening. The building’s design, materials, and sky-lit rooms combine to provide an environment for the works of art that is simple and dignified.
The collection contains masterpieces by the leading artists who worked in Britain from the sixteenth century to the present, including Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Stubbs, Constable, Turner, and Bonington. The Center also boasts rich holdings of British sporting art, marine painting, and paintings by nineteenth-century artists. Modern and contemporary British art have been growing strengths, and works by painters of the Camden Town School and the Bloomsbury Group are especially well represented.
The Center’s collections include more than 2,000 paintings, 250 sculptures, 20,000 drawings and watercolors, 40,000 prints, and 35,000 rare books and manuscripts. More than 40,000 volumes supporting research in British art and related fields are available in the Center’s Reference Library. In May 2016, the Center reopened to the public following the completion of a multiyear project to conserve its iconic Louis I. Kahn building.
The Center offers a limited number of short-term resident residential fellowships to doctoral students and scholars at postdoctoral or equivalent level whose projects relate directly to the Center’s collections. Applications are also welcomed from museum professionals whose responsibilities and research interests involve British art. The deadline is early January.
1080 Chapel Street
PO Box 208280
New Haven, CT 06520-8280
Tel: (203) 432-2824
Fax: (203) 432-4538Hours
Tuesday – Saturday 10 am–5 pm
Sunday noon–5 pm
Yale Center for British Art New Haven | paintings in chronological order
1826 – 1850