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Exhibitions in the Arts Library: Current Exhibitions

Now at the Arts Library

Yale School of Fine Arts students in a painting classroom

Students in a painting classroom. School of Fine Arts, Yale University, photographs (RU 890), box 1, folder 1.
Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

The First University Art School: 150 Years of the Yale School of Art

September 20, 2019 to January 18, 2020

This exhibition celebrates the first 150 years of the Yale School of Art. When the School of the Fine Arts opened in 1869, Yale became the first university to create an art school.

Stand-alone art academies, such as the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (1563), AcadeĢmie royale de peinture et de sculpture, Paris (1648), and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (1768), existed since the late Renaissance. In America, the Yale School of the Fine Arts was preceded by the New York Academy of Fine Arts (1802–41), the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts (1805), and Cooper Union (1859).

Since the very beginning, the Yale School of Art has educated students in contemporary artistic practices including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Within the first couple of decades, the curriculum expanded to include classes in drama and architecture. Over the last century, as deans and directors adapted to changing times and new artistic directions, the courses in these two disciplines were developed, first into full programs and, eventually, into their own professional schools: the School of Drama and the School of Architecture. The School of Art currently offers graduate programs in graphic design, painting/ printmaking, sculpture, and photography as well as an undergraduate art major in Yale College.

Through items from Manuscripts and Archives and Arts Library Special Collections such as early photographs, departmental records, and student work, this exhibition illustrates moments in the evolution of the Yale School of Art, the faculty and students who have shaped the school, and the spaces they have inhabited.


Curated by Miko McGinty (’93 BA, ’98 MFA) and Mar González Palacios, Associate Director, Arts Library Special Collections