The Dahesh Museum

The Dahesh Museum of Art is the only museum in the United States devoted to the collection and exhibition of European academic art of the 19th and 20th century. The collection, located in Manhattan, New York City, originated with Lebanese writer, humanist, and philosopher Salim Moussa Achi (1909–1984), whose pen name was Dr. Dahesh. The core of the museum's holdings consists of Dahesh's collection of more than 2,000 academic paintings, which includes many notable Orientalist paintings.The Museum's regular exhibition space closed in 2008, leaving the museum temporarily available online and in traveling exhibitions. In early 2012, the Museum reopened an office and gift shop in Manhattan's Hudson Square neighborhood, near SoHo. Renovations began in 2015 on the museum's new permanent home at 178 East 64th Street.CollectionThe museum is noted for its outstanding collections of orientalist paintings and works by American illustrators.HistoryThe museum's creation stems from the Zahid family's inheritance of Dahesh's collection upon his death. Five members of the family serve on the Museum's Board and chose to create the museum in Manhattan rather than Lebanon due to the challenges of the city's art community arising from the political instability of the country. Despite some concerns about the art's origins, the Museum was incorporated in 1987 and opened officially in 1995 at an 1800sqft gallery on Fifth Avenue. It struggled in the early years, due in part to the relatively obscure nature of its founder's legacy, and the perception of illustration as an art form. Despite the struggles, the museum attracted an annual attendance of about 20,000 people and it was able to amass a $30m endowment in a little more than five years, rivaling that of the Guggenheim Museum.

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