Harvard Art Museums

Harvard Art Museums Established 1895
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The Harvard Art Museums, among the world’s leading art institutions, comprise three museums (the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums) and four research centers (the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, the Harvard Art Museums Archives, and the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis). The Fogg Museum includes Western art from the Middle Ages to the present; the Busch-Reisinger Museum, unique among North American museums, is dedicated to the study of all modes and periods of art from central and northern Europe, with an emphasis on German-speaking countries; and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is focused on Asian, ancient, and Islamic and later Indian art. Together, the collections include approximately 250,000 objects in all media. The Harvard Art Museums are distinguished by the range and depth of their collections, their groundbreaking exhibitions, and the original research of their staff. Integral to Harvard University and the wider community, the museums and research centers serve as resources for students, scholars, and the public. For more than a century they have been the nation’s premier training ground for museum professionals and are renowned for their seminal role in developing the discipline of art history in the United States. The Harvard Art Museums’ recent renovation and expansion builds on the legacies of the three museums and unites their remarkable collections under one roof for the first time. Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s responsive design preserved the Fogg Museum’s landmark 1927 facility, while transforming the space to accommodate 21st-century needs. Following a six-year building project, the museums now feature 40 percent more gallery space, an expanded Art Study Center, conservation labs, and classrooms, and a striking new glass roof that bridges the facility’s historic and contemporary architecture. The new Harvard Art Museums’ building is more functional, accessible, spacious, and above all, more transparent. The three constituent museums retain their distinct identities in this new facility, yet their close proximity provides exciting opportunities to experience works of art in a broader context. Exhibitions, Events, and News Our Special Exhibition Gallery presents important new research on artists and artistic practice, and our University Galleries are programmed in consultation with Harvard faculty to support coursework. www.harvardartmuseums.org/visit/exhibitions Lectures, workshops, films, performances, special events, and other programs are held throughout the year at the museums. www.harvardartmuseums.org/visit/calendar Check out Index, our multimedia magazine, to keep up with what’s happening at the Harvard Art Museums. http://magazine.harvardartmuseums.org/

Remembering Elsa Dorfman, the inimitable Cambridge photographer known "as much for her large Polaroid portraits as for h...
06/01/2020
Cambridge Photographer Elsa Dorfman, Famous For Her Giant Polaroids, Dies At 83

Remembering Elsa Dorfman, the inimitable Cambridge photographer known "as much for her large Polaroid portraits as for her authenticity, openness and warmth."

Elsa Dorfman, a Cambridge fixture known as much for her large polaroid portraits as for her authenticity, openness and warmth, died Saturday. She was 83.

Calling all art sleuths! In 2017, Harvard Art Museums acquired this intriguing portrait of a young woman by painter Juli...
05/29/2020

Calling all art sleuths! In 2017, Harvard Art Museums acquired this intriguing portrait of a young woman by painter Julien Hudson, an artist of African descent who lived and worked in the vibrant community of free people of color in Antebellum New Orleans. A mysterious figure, little is known of Hudson's life and career, but even less is known about the young woman who appears in this 1840 portrait. Our curatorial staff is searching the painting for clues that might tell us something about this enigmatic figure. In the meantime, what clues do you see? Comment below with any suggestions that might lead us to the identity of Julien Hudson's "Portrait of a Young Woman in White!" 🕵️‍♀️ 🖼 #MuseumFromHome #HarvardArtMuseums @ Harvard Art Museums

"To all graduates around the world: may you go forth into the next chapter of your life with joy, hope, grit, and a sens...
05/28/2020

"To all graduates around the world: may you go forth into the next chapter of your life with joy, hope, grit, and a sense of adventure. Be kind and generous to yourselves; be compassionate to your family and friends, to strangers. The world, at this moment, is clearly not where you wish—we all wish—it were. But there is freedom in charting unchartered territory. Be brave, be creative, and bring us along on your journey. You are our inspiration. Congratulations Class of 2020! — Soyoung Lee, Chief Curator of the Harvard Art Museums

Matsubara Naoko, "Harvard Yard in Spring." Woodblock print; ink on paper. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Art/Asia Gallery, 1973.108.

Join us on Zoom for a Student Guide Tour TODAY at noon! Mei Tercek ’21 will consider how decay can be a destructive and ...
05/28/2020

Join us on Zoom for a Student Guide Tour TODAY at noon! Mei Tercek ’21 will consider how decay can be a destructive and revitalizing force in art, focusing on several works from our collections. #MuseumFromHome https://bit.ly/2X6JRNU

Whether through shared triumph or hardship, the Class of 2020 has continued to rise to the challenge. Here are some of t...
05/28/2020
Memories from Harvard’s 2019-20 academic year

Whether through shared triumph or hardship, the Class of 2020 has continued to rise to the challenge. Here are some of the highlights from the 2019-2020 academic year.

A compilation of memories from Harvard’s 2019-20 academic year.

“The idea that physicians should be allowed to feel good in the midst of the pandemic, the importance of self-care, and ...
05/27/2020
Harvard Art Museums uses collections to help doctors decompress

“The idea that physicians should be allowed to feel good in the midst of the pandemic, the importance of self-care, and worries about burnout are really serious issues,” said David Odo. “I think anything that the museums can do to help is a good thing to be focusing on right now.”

Virtual, 30-minute art breaks organized by the Harvard Art Museums are designed to help doctors briefly disengage from the pressures and stresses of their work in the age of coronavirus.

Congratulations, seniors, and thank you for last night's wonderful talk! Check out more student guide tours still to com...
05/26/2020

Congratulations, seniors, and thank you for last night's wonderful talk! Check out more student guide tours still to come this semester, including Gavin's TONIGHT at 8pm!

Yesterday’s Senior send off tour was a success! Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and thank you for all you’ve taught us! We will miss you dearly but can’t wait to see where life takes you next!
Don’t worry though - we’re not done yet! Check out the link in our bio for more upcoming tours including Gavin ‘20’s tour tonight at 8pm.
#seniors2020 #harvard #commencement #museumsfromhome #art

Exactly one year ago today, we opened the exhibition “Prince Shōtoku: The Secrets Within,” which centered on an extraord...
05/25/2020

Exactly one year ago today, we opened the exhibition “Prince Shōtoku: The Secrets Within,” which centered on an extraordinary hinoki (Japanese cypress) sculpture of Prince Shōtoku at Age Two. Prince Shōtoku is understood as the founder of Buddhism in Japan. The sculpture’s story begins in 13th century Japan, but has a fascinating history in Massachusetts!

The sculpture was purchased in Japan in 1936 by Ellery Sedgwick Sr, owner and editor of the Atlantic Monthly. Shōtoku was housed for many years at Sedgwick’s Long Hill home in Beverly, MA, now a @trusteesofreservations property. On a 2019 research trip to Long Hill we discovered that Sedgwick’s wife, the accomplished horticulturalist Mabel Cabot Sedgwick, had poetically planted two stunning hinoki trees in Long Hill’s renowned gardens, framing the view of the surrounding landscape.

Walter C. Sedgwick, grandson of Ellery Sr, generously gifted the sculpture to the Harvard Art Museums last year. In celebration of the anniversary of both this extraordinary gift, and of the exhibition, we hope you’ll visit our Prince Shōtoku Digital Tool (linked in our bio!) to learn more about this fascinating work, or take a socially distanced stroll through Long Hill’s peaceful gardens, now open to visitors!

#OneHarvard #JapaneseArt
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#HarvardArtMuseums @ Harvard Art Museums

We’re delighted to launch a new virtual tour of highlights from our special exhibition, “Painting Edo: Japanese Art from...
05/23/2020
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, United States - Google Arts & Culture

We’re delighted to launch a new virtual tour of highlights from our special exhibition, “Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection” on Google Arts & Culture! Take an immersive four-part tour through early modern Japanese art from the Edo period, including examples of hanging scrolls, folding screens, fan paintings, and more.

Social Photos
05/21/2020

Social Photos

Inspired by 18th-century Dutch painter Anthony Henstenburgh’s rendering of tulips, artist Mary Kocol took to her garden ...
05/20/2020

Inspired by 18th-century Dutch painter Anthony Henstenburgh’s rendering of tulips, artist Mary Kocol took to her garden and composed this spectacular recreation photo! On an average pre-pandemic workday, Kocol applied her talents to creating digital images of our collections as our staff fine arts photographer. Henstenbergh’s watercolor arrived in our photo studio last year, making an impact with its vibrant colors and variety of tulips. We hope her work encourages you to find artistic inspiration in your own garden! #Tulips #MuseumFromHome #Gardening #TulipSeason #HarvardArtMuseums

Tonight at 8pm!
05/19/2020

Tonight at 8pm!

"For still, though changed, her slender form remained..."
–Ovid, Metamorphoses

This Tuesday at 8:00-8:30pm (EDT) Tommy Mahon, one of our graduating seniors, will offer a live tour focused on four artworks embodying aesthetic, political and spiritual transformations. Free and open to everyone; just click the Zoom link on our tour page to join in: https://www.harvardartmuseums.org/article/virtual-student-guide-tours

Harvard Art Museums's cover photo
05/19/2020

Harvard Art Museums's cover photo

Join us tonight at 8pm for a virtual Student Guide Tour!Tommy Mahon ’20 will focus on four artworks from our collections...
05/19/2020

Join us tonight at 8pm for a virtual Student Guide Tour!
Tommy Mahon ’20 will focus on four artworks from our collections embodying aesthetic, political, and spiritual transformations. Zoom link: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/93931024393

Looking for fresh online activities? Follow the advice of the Boston Globe and take a student-designed tour of the Harva...
05/18/2020
Five free things to do online, May 18-31 - The Boston Globe

Looking for fresh online activities? Follow the advice of the Boston Globe and take a student-designed tour of the Harvard Art Museums, offered every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday!

Virtually explore the Harvard Art Museums, check out inaccurate historical landmarks in Cambridge, encourage your kids’ interest in the arts, and more.

Today our curator Lynette Roth joined fellow curators, family and friends, and artists including Anselm Kiefer and Marin...
05/17/2020

Today our curator Lynette Roth joined fellow curators, family and friends, and artists including Anselm Kiefer and Marina Abramovic to (virtually) wish VALIE EXPORT a happy 80th birthday! They sang, discussed the experience of the last few weeks, and asked the artist about her birthday wishes. 🎂

As their semester comes to a close, we celebrate our Student Board’s incredible work this past year! Swipe to see some o...
05/16/2020

As their semester comes to a close, we celebrate our Student Board’s incredible work this past year! Swipe to see some of their favorite works of art in our galleries, and read their reflections below. #VirtualVisitas #MuseumsfromHome @HarvardArtHappens @Harvard #HarvardArtMuseums

Yong Han Poh ‘20, Cabot House, East Asian Studies and Social Anthropology: This piece, "Analogica I, by Victor Gripppo," makes me think about the invisible labour involved in maintaining artwork - did you know the potatoes have to be replaced every two weeks? I also love conceptual art in general, and I think the use of potatoes here (growth, universality, collective energy) really embody the artwork’s message of resisting authoritarian oppression.

Celine Cuadra ‘22, Mather House, History and Literature/Art, Film and Visual Studies: “This past summer, I worked in Buenos Aires at a former clandestine detention center now recognized as both a museum and site for memory. This piece, exhibited in the Harvard Art Museums’ Fall 2019 exhibition "Crossing Lines, Constructing Home," deals with themes and experiences similar to mine this summer, as it involves both victims and survivors of the Chilean civic-military dictatorship. It was truly serendipitous to find this work newly exhibited upon returning to the museum last fall; it reminds me again of how art is always relevant in our intimate lives, whether through its literal subject or through abstraction of a piece’s meaning.”

Justin Wei ‘21, Dunster House, Economics: During my sophomore fall, I took what has been my favorite class at Harvard so far: Modern Art & Modernity. Co-taught by three incredible art historians, the class gave me both new tools for formal analysis, and new friendships born out of appreciation of art’s transformation over time. As part of one class discussion, we stood in front of Pollock’s "No. 2," considering the impact of Pollock and his contemporaries on the nature of abstract expressionism. Now, I look back fondly on how the various galleries of the Museums have been unique sites of interactive, experiential learning throughout my college career. @ Harvard Art Museums

Louis-Jean Desprez travelled to Sicily in 1778, gathering and creating images for the lavish publication, “Picturesque V...
05/15/2020

Louis-Jean Desprez travelled to Sicily in 1778, gathering and creating images for the lavish publication, “Picturesque Voyages: Description of the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily.” He arrived in Palermo in time for the annual celebration of the feast of Saint Rosalia on July 10th. A 12th-century Sicilian ascetic, Rosalia was credited with halting the progress of the plague in Palermo in 1624. Since then, the saint’s relics have been reverently paraded around the city every year. Desprez’s watercolor depicts the large, ornate floats that constituted the centerpiece of the procession, surrounded by dozens of attendants and spectators, before the 12th-century cathedral. Smoke from celebratory cannon-fire hangs over the crowd. The work displays Desprez's virtuosity at its best: the architecture and innumerable small figures rendered in minute detail, the smoke and clouds in a looser technique, and the teeming festivity recorded with a scenographic flair that predicts the artist's achievement as a designer of stage spectacles. #MuseumFromHome #HarvardArtMuseums


Louis-Jean Desprez, "The Procession of Saint Rosalia in Palermo," 1778. Watercolor, black ink, and graphite on off-white antique laid paper, laid down on wove paper, laid down on a matboard, framing line in black ink. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Marian H. Phinney Fund, Paul J. Sachs Memorial Fund, through the generosity of Virgilia Klein, Bunge North America Corporation, and David M. Leventhal, and the Drawing Department Acquisition Fund, 2009.74.

Join us today at noon for student guide Vlad's tour, “Art in Exile.” Zoom link: https://bit.ly/2SZBXDN
05/14/2020

Join us today at noon for student guide Vlad's tour, “Art in Exile.” Zoom link: https://bit.ly/2SZBXDN

05/12/2020
Windows of Harvard

While many within the Harvard community are separated from the physical campus, the exhibition "Windows of Harvard: Art from our Community" aims to enliven and fill those spaces with displays of art. Join the virtual launch party today at 4:30!

The Office for the Arts at Harvard and Harvard Common Spaces are excited to present Windows of Harvard: Art from our Community.

“Painting Edo,” the ambitious jewel of an exhibition currently on view for no one at the Harvard Art Museum, is perhaps ...
05/12/2020
Art in Isolation: The Delicate Paintings of Edo Japan

“Painting Edo,” the ambitious jewel of an exhibition currently on view for no one at the Harvard Art Museum, is perhaps arguably experiencing its most historically authentic moment in the strangeness of ours.

“Painting Edo,” the ambitious jewel of an exhibition currently on view for no one at the Harvard Art Museum, is perhaps arguably experiencing its most historically authentic moment in the strangeness of ours. Because to fully understand the significance of the Edo Period in Japan, which lasted f...

This Friday May 15, join us for an Art Study Seminar at Home! We'll examine a selection of European drawings from the 17...
05/11/2020
Art Study Center Seminars at Home | Index Magazine | Harvard Art Museums

This Friday May 15, join us for an Art Study Seminar at Home! We'll examine a selection of European drawings from the 17th to the early 20th century that exemplify companionship and conviviality.

We may be closed for now, but we’re bringing our experts to you in a new online series, Art Study Center Seminars at Home.

Take a tour with graduate student intern Leah Justin-Jinich, as she guides us into the world of "Painting Edo: Japanese ...
05/11/2020
Art Talk: Painting Edo and the Transcendence of Laughter | Index Magazine | Harvard Art Museums

Take a tour with graduate student intern Leah Justin-Jinich, as she guides us into the world of "Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection" to discover a unique set of Zen paintings and to see how puppies, bamboo, and laughter can lead to enlightenment!

Join graduate student intern Leah Justin-Jinich for a deep dive into a unique set of Zen paintings from our special exhibition, Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection.

Register for our next Art Study Center Seminar at Home, "Drawn Together—Conviviality in European Drawings." In this virt...
05/10/2020
Art Study Center Seminars at Home | Index Magazine | Harvard Art Museums

Register for our next Art Study Center Seminar at Home, "Drawn Together—Conviviality in European Drawings." In this virtual seminar, Joachim Homann and Margaret Grasselli will examine a selection of European drawings from the 17th to the early 20th century that depict companionship.

We may be closed for now, but we’re bringing our experts to you in a new online series, Art Study Center Seminars at Home.

Wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day to new moms, moms far from their children, and moms lucky enough to be with their fami...
05/10/2020

Wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day to new moms, moms far from their children, and moms lucky enough to be with their families today—we love you! 💐 #MothersDay #MuseumFromHome #HarvardArtMuseum

Lovis Corinth, “Mother and Child,” 1909. Graphite on off-white wove paper. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. F. F. Beer, BR53.36.

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