On Saturday I visited the newly renovated and expanded Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, CT. My hopes were high and I was not disappointed. The "Gallery" which could be more properly called a museum is a series of five buildings that now flow together beautifully and displays some 4,000 works of art. The spaces are well thought out, with superb wall colors, excellent lighting and attention to details, architectural, aesthetic and practical. The exhibit areas are spacious and allow for comfortable viewing when the gallery is crowded yet retain a very intimate feel perfect for engaging the artworks themselves. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the spaces, and truly enjoyed being there walking and browsing through the rooms, never feeling rushed or frustrated by obstacles that might prevent easy viewing or enjoyment of the art.
The collection itself, spans centuries, continents and cultures creating an encyclopaedic experience. There's quite an impressive array of ancient sculpture, mosaics, frescos and artifacts something I particularly enjoy. Africa, Asia and Indo-Pacific art are all well represented each having their own spacious rooms. European art is handsomely presented in a series of gallery rooms of different periods, with modern art occupying separate rooms on the upper levels. Art of the Ancient Americas is represented and American Art, painting and sculpture and the decorative arts are given plenty of space in beautiful rooms that support the various time periods through architectural elements and room colors. I have a particular interest in American art and was overjoyed to find some very fine examples from the Hudson River School including Church, Bierstadt, Martin Johnson Heade, Jervis McEntee and Thomas Cole. Also wonderful to find were both oils and watercolors by Winslow Homer, several Eakins, and Sargent's, a George Inness and a Georgia O'Keefe.
The only room that left me wishing for more was the Impressionist/ Post-Impressionist gallery. There are fine examples by Monet, Degas, Gauguin, and others and the stunning In the Night Cafe, by Van Gogh. I just wish there were a few more to round out that era.
The roof top sculpture terrace is lovely and since the day was unseasonably warm for December we took a nice refreshing break sitting on the benches and enjoying the sculpture and the view.
There are many more parts to the newly renovated facility including a room of coins and medals,and rooms for prints, drawings and photography, study galleries and the Nolan Center for Art and Education and spaces for special exhibitions.
I can't tell you how overjoyed I am to have such a fine museum so close to where I live. Next visit I will have sketchbook in hand ready to spend hours and hours getting to know the collection and the new spaces like old friends.