2. Yale University Art Gallery

Photo by Elizabeth Felicella

The Yale University Art Gallery is the oldest university art museum in the United States. The gallery was founded in 1832 when John Trumbull, often deemed “The Painter of the Revolution,” sold 28 paintings and 60 miniature portraits to Yale. Peter Bonnett Wight designed the original home of the Yale School of the Fine Arts, and in 1928, Yale architect Egerton Swartwout constructed a Tuscan Romanesque building that later became known as the “Old Yale Art Gallery.” Louis Kahn, who served as a design critic and professor of architecture at the Yale School of Architecture from 1947 to 1957, designed a new modernist main building adjacent to the buildings by Bonnett Wright and Swartwout.

The building, which opened to great acclaim in 1953, was constructed of masonry, concrete, glass, and steel, and features a windowless wall along its most public facade. Kahn also attracted acclaim for his design of a tetrahedral ceiling and cylindrical main staircase. Anne Tyng, the first woman licensed as an architect in Pennsylvania, designed a triangular ceiling for the gallery. The Gallery’s three buildings underwent a major renovation completed in 2012 by Ennead Architects, which added a rooftop sculpture terrace. Today, the museum houses 3,000 objects of African art, 13,000 pieces of Ancient art, and hundreds of paintings by American artists including Winslow Homer, Joseph Stella, and Edward Hopper.