Harvard Art Museums
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Reopened in 2014, the University's building at 32 Quincy Street unites the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler museums in a single building designed by architect Renzo Piano
Backstory and Context
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The Fogg Museum opened in 1895 in a Beaux-Arts style building on the north end of Harvard Yard. In 1891, Mrs. Elizabeth Fogg left money to Harvard University to build a Fogg Art Museum in memory of her husband. “Designed by architects Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott of Boston, the joint art museum and teaching facility was the first purpose-built structure for the specialized training of art scholars, conservators, and museum professionals in North America. With an early collection that consisted largely of plaster casts and photographs, the Fogg Museum is now renowned for its holdings of Western paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, prints, and drawings dating from the Middle Ages to the present” (“History”). In 1927, the museum moved to its current location.
Founded in 1903, the Busch-Reisinger Museum is a Germanic museum that focuses on art of central and north Europe with an emphasis on German speaking countries. In 1921, the museum moved to Adolphus Busch Hall and in 1991, it moved to Werner Otto Hall. “Adolphus Busch Hall continues to house the founding collection of plaster casts of medieval art and is the venue for concerts on its world-renowned Flentrop pipe organ, while the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s holdings include significant works of Austrian Secession art, German expressionism, 1920s abstraction, and materials related to the Bauhaus” (“History”). The Busch-Reisinger Museum focuses on medieval sculpture, 18th century art, and postwar/contemporary art from German speaking European countries.
Founded in 1985, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is the newest of the Harvard Art Museums and focuses on art from Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean area. In 1977, Harvard University’s Asian, Ancient, Islamic, and Indian art collections had grown exponentially and required their own place of residency. Dr. Arthur Sackler founded the museum that now holds these collections and is the home of the university’s History of Art and Architecture department and the Media Slide Library.
About the Museums, Harvard Art Museums. Accessed November 1st 2020. http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/about .
History and the Three Museums, Harvard Art Museums. Accessed November 1st 2020. http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/about/history-and-the-three-museums.