Princeton University Art Museum

Princeton University Art Museum
TypeArt Museum
Collection size100,000
DirectorJames Christen Steward
Public transit accessPrinceton (NJT station)
Nearest parkingNassau Street, Spring Street Parking Garage
McCormick Hall (1923)
Princeton University Art Museum Side View.JPG
Princeton University Art Museum is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
Princeton University Art Museum
LocationMcCormick Hall, Princeton, New Jersey
Coordinates40°20′49.9″N 74°39′28.9″W / 40.347194°N 74.658028°W / 40.347194; -74.658028Coordinates:40°20′49.9″N 74°39′28.9″W / 40.347194°N 74.658028°W / 40.347194; -74.658028
ArchitectRalph Adams Cram
Architectural styleVenetian Gothic
Part ofPrinceton Historic District (ID75001143[2])
Designated CP27 June 1975

The Princeton University Art Museum (PUAM) is the Princeton University gallery of art, located in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1882, it now houses over 92,000 works of art ranging from antiquity to the contemporary period. The Princeton University Art Museum dedicates itself to supporting and enhancing the University's goals of teaching, research, and service in fields of art and culture, as well as to serving regional communities and visitors from around the world. Its collections concentrate on the Mediterranean region, Western Europe, China, the United States, and Latin America.

The museum has a large collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, including ceramics, marbles, bronzes, and Roman mosaics from Princeton University's excavations in Antioch. Medieval Europe is represented by sculpture, metalwork, and stained glass. The collection of Western European paintings includes examples from the early Renaissance through the nineteenth century, and there is a growing collection of twentieth-century and contemporary art. Photographic holdings are a particular strength, numbering over 27,000 works from the invention of daguerreotype in 1839 to the present. The museum is also noted for its Asian art gallery, which includes a wide collection of Chinese calligraphy, painting, ancient bronze works, jade carvings, as well as porcelain selections. In addition to its collections, the museum mounts regular temporary exhibitions featuring works from its own holdings as well as loans made from public and private collections around the world.

Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Thursday, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm.[3]

A new building for the museum will be constructed on the same site over the course of three years starting in 2020 with David Adjaye serving as architect.[4]

The Princeton University Art Museum is part of the Monuments Men and Women Museum Network, launched in 2021 by the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.[5] Several "monuments men" are alumnus of Princeton University.


The Faculty Room of Nassau Hall in 1886, when it served as home to the Art Museum


The first art work owned and displayed by the College of New Jersey (renamed Princeton University in 1896) was a full-length portrait of Jonathan Belcher, the Governor of the province of New Jersey who had promoted the establishment of the College. The portrait was a donation from Belcher himself, given shortly before the College moved in 1756 to the newly built Nassau Hall. It was joined by a portrait of King George II, who had issued the letters patent establishing the College. The two portraits hung in the central prayer hall, and were displayed alongside various antiquities and objects of natural history. The two paintings were destroyed during the 1777 Battle of Princeton and further objects were lost in the 1802 Nassau Hall fire, but the College continued its commitment to collecting and teaching from works of art and historical note.[6]

The first building purpose-built for the Art Museum, in an 1894 photo


The creation of the Art Museum in a more formal sense took place under the leadership of James McCosh, who served as president of the College of New Jersey from 1868–88. The Scottish McCosh brought with him from Europe new progressive academic disciplines, including the history of art. By 1882, McCosh charged William Cowper Prime, a Princeton alumnus and founding trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and George B. McClellan, the Civil War general and then Governor of New Jersey, with creating a curriculum in the subject. They argued: "The foundation of any system of education in Historic Art must obviously be in object study. A museum of art objects is so necessary to the system that without it we are of [the] opinion it would be of small utility to introduce the proposed department.” The intention was to go beyond the fields of art and classics to include, “many other branches of the collegiate course.” They anticipated, “large future growth,” as the College could “look with confidence to her sons, in all parts of the world,” for future donations.[6]

Hieronymus Bosch or a member of his circle, Christ Before Pilate, ca. 1520, gift of Allan Marquand[7]

Allan Marquand (1882–1922)

The museum, and what is now the Department of Art and Archaeology, were formally created in 1882, with Allan Marquand, of the Princeton Class of 1874, serving as the inaugural lecturer in the new department and director of the museum, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1922. Marquand was previously instructor in Latin and logic at the College and was the son of Henry Gurdon Marquand, a major benefactor of the College and one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collections of the museum were initially held in Nassau Hall, along with the growing natural history collection of professor Arnold Henry Guyot, part of which is still on display in Guyot Hall. A new purpose-built fireproof Romanesque Revival Museum was designed by A. Page Brown and completed in 1890 on the site of the current museum.

On completion of the building the museum received the Trumball-Prime collection of pottery and porcelain from William Prime and his wife. Early additions included the purchase of a large collection of Cypriot pottery from the Metropolitan Museum in 1890, and purchases of Etruscan, Roman, and South Italian pottery. Marquand established an endowment from his own resources to enable further purchases and it was significantly augmented by a donation from Edward Harkness.[8]


Thomas Eakins, Seventy Years Ago, 1877, Gift of Mrs. Frank Jewett Mather Jr.

Frank Jewett Mather Jr. (1922–46)

Edgar Degas, Bather (Standing Female Nude), 1917, Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr.

Frank Jewett Mather joined the faculty in 1910 and succeeded Marquand as museum director in 1922. He was a collector of Medieval and Renaissance art but also led the university to large holdings of paintings and prints, including the 1933 bequest of several thousand objects by Junius Spencer Morgan II, of the Princeton Class of 1888. In 1923, the first of many expansions of the Art Museum was completed with the addition of the Venetian Gothic McCormick Hall, designed by Ralph Adams Cram and donated by the family of Cyrus McCormick, Jr., Class of 1879 and Harold Fowler McCormick, Class of 1895. The new building enabled the older structure to be devoted solely to the museum, and led to the creation of a hall of casts on the ground floor.

As Marquand had before him, Mather augmented the museum's collections through the use of his personal fortune, with contributions ranging from Classical and Pre-Columbian antiquities, to illuminated manuscripts, and what became one of the finest collections of American drawings in the country. Major gifts during the 1930s included a collection of more than 40 Italian paintings from Henry White Cannon, Jr., of the Class of 1910, and more than 500 snuff bottles, still one of the finest such collections in the country, from Colonel James A. Blair, Class of 1903. The decade also saw significant collections of Chinese and Japanese art added to support the courses of George Rowley, the first in those fields in an American university. The World War II years ushered in the first classes in American art.

Notable exhibitions during Mather's tenure included one of works by Paul Cézanne, borrowed from Duncan Philips, and one of highlights from the Museum of Modern Art. Before his retirement in 1946, he oversaw a massive influx of Antioch mosaics from the archaeological digs at Antioch-on-the-Orontes in which the University had played a leading part. Some of the mosaics can be found today not only in the museum but also in various places in Firestone Library. He also welcomed the collection of Dan Fellows Platt, a massive assortment of fine objects which arrived by van during the war.[9]

Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage, 1907, the first photo added to the Museum's collection, gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr.

Ernest DeWald (1946–60)

Mather was succeeded by Ernest DeWald, a graduate school alumnus of the Class of 1946, one of the Monuments Men who had been charged with protecting the cultural heritage of Europe during the war. A large number of Princetonians, both alumni and faculty, served with the Monuments program, leading the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna to loan the museum The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer as a sign of gratitude. DeWald was noted for his conservation work, personally cleaning paintings in his office on the top floor the museum. For the University's bicentennial in 1946, he refurbished the galleries, including displaying a new collection of Chinese scrolls donated by Dr. Dubois Schanck Morris, Class of 1893. Under DeWald's tenure, the museum's collection of Asian art greatly increased, aided by the guidance of Professor Wen C. Fong, Class of 1951, who would go on to be the founding director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Asian department. In 1949, Alfred Stieglitz's 1907 The Steerage was the first of the museum's now considerable collection of photographs.[10]

Henry Moore, Oval with Points, 1969-1970, part of the Putnam Collection, often called "Nixon's Nose" by students[11]

Patrick Joseph Kelleher (1960–73)

Patrick Joseph Kelleher, Class of 1947 and another Monuments Man, succeeded DeWald as director in 1960. He spearheaded the construction of a new home for the museum, made possible by the University's landmark $53 million capital campaign. In 1962 the collections were removed to enable the demolition of the A. Page Brown building and the northern wing of the Ralph Adams Cram structure to make way for the current, Steinmann and Cain designed, International Style building, completed in 1966.

Perhaps the most visible art on the campus is the Putnam Collection of Sculpture. The collection is the result of an anonymous million dollar 1968 donation in honor of Lieutenant John B. Putnam Jr., of the Princeton Class of 1945, who lost his life in a plane crash during World War II. The collection was assembled in 1969 and 1970 by a committee led by Kelleher and including Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Thomas Hoving. It contains works by seventeen major twentieth century sculptors, including Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, David Smith, and Tony Smith.[12]

Kelleher's directorship also saw an increasing focus on photography as an important element of the museum's collections. David Hunter McAlpin, Class of 1920, gave a major collection of photographs to the museum in 1971 as well as endowing a fund for further purchases and a professorship, the first endowed chair in the history of photography in the country. That professorship was occupied by Peter Bunnell, who would go on to succeed Kelleher as director in 1973.[13]

Further expansion

Peter Bunnell served as director until 1978, training a generation of leading scholars and curators of photography, and giving Princeton a preeminent place in the field with a collection in excess of 27,000 photographs, and significant archives of photographers including Clarence Hudson White, Minor White, and Ruth Bernhard. In 1980, Allen Rosenbaum became director, focusing on expanding the museums collection of Old Masters, notably Renaissance and Baroque paintings in the Mannerist tradition. In 1989, Rosenbaum oversaw another expansion of the museum's physical plant, the 27,000 square feet (2,500 m2) Mitchell Wolfson, Jr., Class of 1963, Wing. The new wing, designed by Mitchell/Giurgola, provided additional exhibition space, a conservation studio, as well as seminar and study-storage rooms for all areas of the museum's collection.

Under Susan M. Taylor's directorship in the first decade of the 21st century, the museum established its first endowed curatorships. The current director, James Steward, has leadership over a collection of more than 112,000 objects, supplemented by notable collections on long-term loan, including the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, modern art from the Sonnabend Collection, and perhaps the finest collection of paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, on loan from Herbert Schorr, Graduate School Class of 1963, and his wife, Lenore.[14]

In 2015 the museum was listed by Fodor's on its list of the top 15 best museums in the United States that is located in a small-town (Princeton, New Jersey) and described as "one of the best university art museums in the world."[15]

In 2020, architect David Adjaye was commissioned to design 144,000 square feet (13,400 square metres) extension, which is set to double the museum in size.[16] The three-story museum will include nine connected pavilions that include visible storage space and spots where artworks can be inset into floors and walls.[17] In addition to the museum galleries, the building will incorporate a home for the university’s department of art and archaeology and a triple-height grand hall, numerous classroom spaces, seminar rooms, creativity labs and a rooftop café.[18]

In anticipation of these disruptions, in September 2019 the museum opened Art@Bainbridge in historic Bainbridge House as a gallery space for experimental work. Two months later it opened a satellite museum store on Palmer Square in downtown Princeton.


African art

Ethiopian, Illuminated Manuscript, 18th century[19]

The collection of African art is designed to reveal the immense diversity of artistic work across the continent. Objects are on display from west, central, and South Africa, ranging from royal regalia and objects of prestige, to sculptures marking rites of passage, to those intended to facilitate interaction with spiritual entities.

The first bequest to the Museum of African art was made in 1953 by Mrs. Donald B. Doyle, in honor of her husband. That collection was accumulated before 1923 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and includes a distinctively shaped Kuba box and a rare double caryatid headrest from the Chokwe people. More recent gifts have been made by Perry E.H. Smith, including a Chokwe chair, and by H. Kelly Rollings, among whose gifts is an emblem of the Leopard Society, a notable example of an accumulative object from the Cross River region. A 1998 bequest of John B. Elliot includes many objects of daily use and adornment, as well as Akan gold pieces, from a linguist's staff to a chief's bracelet. In 2003, a Yoruba stool was acquired, considered a sculptural masterpiece that served as the focus of devotion to the god Esu.

The African art collection is small in comparison to others in the museum, though it is an area of growing interest.[20]

Media related to African art in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

American art

Winslow Homer, At the Window, 1872[21]

The University received its first pieces of American art in the 1750s, but only started collecting in earnest under the directorship of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. (1922–46). Few museums accorded significance to American art at the time, allowing Princeton to amass a collection that is among the finest of any academic museum. The collection is particularly strong in painting and sculpture, greatly aided by the large number of portraits of figures affiliated with the University. The museum is strong in the area of landscape painting, especially from the Hudson River School.

The Boudinot Collection of primarily 18th century fine and decorative art were formerly on display in period rooms created in the museum facility constructed in the 1960s, and subsequently at the nearby Morven Museum and Garden, whose original owners, the Stockton family, were relatives of the Boudinots. Alumnus Edward Duff Balken's donation of Folk art led to a substantial collection in that area. New acquisitions, enabled by dedicated endowed funds, are focused on areas where the collection has been less strong, notably still life, genre painting, works by native makers, and African American art.[22]

Media related to American art in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

Ancient, Byzantine, and Islamic art

Roman, Antioch, mosaic pavement, head of Medusa, late 2nd century A.D.

Ancient art has played a central role in the museum's collection since its beginning. The first major addition to the collection included many Etruscan vases, as well as those from Egypt, Greece, and Rome. There are now more than 5,000 objects in the collection, documenting the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Iran, Asia Minor, and the Levant. The great diversity of artifacts also covers the various eras of ancient Egypt, from pottery to stone reliefs, amulets, wall paintings, bronze statuettes, and mummies. The Greek collection includes significant works of both black-figure and red-figure pottery, including the vase used to identify the Princeton Painter. It spans the broad range of artistic work, from Archaic bronze statuettes to terracotta figurines, jewelry to funerary reliefs, pottery from Rhodes, Cyprus, and Corinth.

Ancient Italy is in particular well represented in the collection, from the Etruscan vases, metalwork, and sculptures to a great breadth of Roman antiquities. The Roman collection includes portraits, sculptures, sarcophagi, carved bone, coins, statuettes, and a spectacular silver-gilt wine cup. The University's heritage of archaeological work in Roman Syria has left a legacy of basalt sculptures from Hauran, funerary reliefs from Palmyra, and a renowned collection of Antioch mosaics.

Byzantine and Islamic art are an equally esteemed focus of the collection, with icons and jewelry from Constantinople sharing a gallery with pottery, metalwork, and glazed tiles from Egypt, Syria, and Iran.

In addition to works on display in the museum, a study gallery with hundreds of additional works is open to students and visitors.[28]

Media related to Ancient, Byzantine, and Islamic art in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

Pre-Columbian art

late Classic, Maya ('Codex' style), The Princeton Vase, A.D. 670–750

The collection of the art of the ancient Americas includes objects covering five thousand years of history, from the Arctic to Chile. The collection's primary focus is on small, portable works of art, typically ceramic or stone. Of particular note are the more than twenty prized polychrome ceramic works, the Classic Mayan Princeton Vase, and over thirty ceramic figurines, from the lowland Maya region. The collection of Olmec objects comprises smaller jade, serpentine, and ceramic works. Of the collection's works from South America, the most notable are those from the Mochica culture, which flourished in Peru between 200 B.C. and A.D. 700. The museum's holdings in Native American art include important collections of Arctic Walrus carvings, art of the Tlingit people, and a growing representation from the Mississippi Valley and the American Southwest.

The collection of Pre-Columbian works began in the 19th century through the efforts of the Reverend Sheldon Jackson, an 1855 graduate of the Princeton Theological Seminary. He donated a collection of Native American ethnographic objects to the Seminary, which transferred them to the University's E. M. Museum of Geology and Archaeology, then in 1909 to the Guyot Hall Museum, which, after its closure in 2000, gave them to the Art Museum. As with the art of Africa and Oceania, Indigenous American art was not a focus of the museum's historic collecting. Nonetheless, objects were steadily donated during the early decades of the museum, including in the Trumbull-Prime Collection and the donations of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. The collection of ancient American art received its proper attention following the 1967 appointment of Gillett G. Griffin as faculty curator, a position held by him until 2004. The current collection is largely the result of his efforts, both through his own collections and his influence on donors.[29]

Media related to Art of the Ancient Americas in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

Asian art

Huang Tingjian, Scroll for Zhang Datong, A.D. 1100,[30] a canonical work of Chinese calligraphy[31]

The collection of Asian art began with the foundation of the museum, with the primary focus for the early decades being Japanese art. Major collections of Chinese art were incorporated in the 1930s and 40s, including the snuff bottle collection of James A. Blair and paintings from Dubois Schanck Morris. The late 1950s brought significant additions of Chinese ritual bronzes and archaeological artifacts from J. Lionberger Davis, Class of 1900, as well as acquisitions from the Chester Dale and Dolly Carter Collection.

The primary strengths of the museum's collection are in Chinese and Japanese art, including Neolithic jade and pottery, ritual bronze vesslels, lacquerware, ceramics, sculpture and metalware, and woodblock prints. The museum's collection of calligraphy and painting is among the finest outside of Asia, including rare masterpieces from the Song and Yuan dynasties such as Huang Tingjian's Scroll for Zhang Datong. The collection also has significant holdings in Korean art, including a growing collection of artifacts ranging from the Three Kingdoms period to the Joseon dynasty. The art of India, Gandhara, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia are also represented, with the influence of Islam and Hinduism on the artistic traditions of the subcontinent represented through sculpture, statuettes, and painted miniatures.[32]

Media related to Asian art in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

Campus Collections

Charles Willson Peale, George Washington at the Battle of Princeton, 1784[33]

The Campus Collections comprise the multitude of paintings, sculptures, memorials, and monuments significant to the University's history and traditions. Central to the collection are the Princeton Portraits, numbering more than 600 paintings and sculptures which depict figures prominent in the history of the university. The portraits span the breadth of American history, including the landmark portrait, George Washington at the Battle of Princeton, by Charles Willson Peale. Washington himself provided the funds for the work. Another highlight is the series of paintings by renowned sculpture and natural history artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins which depict dinosaurs and other prehistoric fauna. The series was commissioned by Princeton President James McCosh in 1876 as a progressive response to Charles Darwin's theories.

The collection is also home to the celebrated Putnam Collection, which comprises 22 works by master artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection was the result of an anonymous donation in honor of a Princeton alumnus who died in World War II. It is commonly regarded as one of the greatest collections of public art, providing a plein-air lesson in art history. Among the highlights of the collection are Oval with Points by Henry Moore and Five Disks: One Empty by Alexander Calder,[34] whose father, A. Stirling Calder, had previously created a statue of Saint George and the Dragon on Princeton's Henry Hall.[35] Calder's work was responsible for an accident during its installation where two men were killed after the sculpture was dropped on them due to a crane collapse. Another highlight of the Putnam collection is Pablo Picasso's Head of a Woman, which was designed by Picasso in 1962, though assembled by Carl Nesjar in 1971.[36]

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European art

Anthony van Dyck, The Mocking of Christ, 1628-30[40]

The collection of European art covers nearly nine hundred years, from the twelfth century to the 20th. The strengths of the museum's holdings within this broad spectrum often reflect the Department of Art and Archaeology's curriculum, though with many unexpected treasures, due to the interests of donors.[41]

The collection of medieval art is primarily the result of museum purchases, demonstrating the techniques and materials of artists, as well as the secular and spiritual uses of their work. Among the collection of stained glass is a window from Chartres Cathedral,[42] and the collection of medieval sculpture includes a gisant of a Spanish knight.[43] Other strengths are polychrome sculpture from Spain and Germany; French, German, and Italian metalwork; and enamels and ivories from France.

Notable in the early modern collection are the rare thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian gold-ground paintings from Siena including works by Fra Angelico, Francesco Traini, and Guido da Siena. The museum is home to an unusual group of Dutch Mannerist paintings from around 1600, including works by Hendrik Goltzius and Abraham Bloemaert, the richest of its kind in an American museum. Baroque art is represented by Pietro da Cortona and Giovanni Battista Gaulli. Notable rococo masters include Jean-Siméon Chardin and François Boucher. Age of Enlightenment paintings include works by Angelica Kauffman, Francisco de Goya, and the studio of Jacques-Louis David.[42]

The nineteenth-century collection consists of works from the Age of Revolution and Industrial Age which trace academic traditions and preparatory processes. Themes represented include the rise of Landscape painting, the human figure, the collecting of small sculpture, and the successive cultural and stylistic waves—revival styles, Orientalism, Impressionism, and the Arts and Crafts movement.[41] Among the major artists represented are Jean-Léon Gérôme, Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, and Édouard Manet.[42]

Early-twentieth-century modernist movements are represented by works by Odilon Redon, Gabriele Münter, and Russian master Ilya Repin, whose paintings are rare outside his homeland. The museum continues to expand its collection of twentieth-century art, allowing visitors and students to assess the European contribution to Modernism.[41]

The Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation has placed its magnificent collection of Post-Impressionist art on loan to the museum, including masterpieces by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Chaïm Soutine.[42]

Media related to European art in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

Modern and contemporary art

Claude Monet, Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, 1899[47]

The Department of Modern and Contemporary Art encompasses works created throughout the world between 1870 and the present, including painting, sculpture, video, and performance. The systematic collection of modern works began in the late 1940s, with many key pieces received as alumni gifts or bequests. The collection includes an important group of late landscapes by Claude Monet as well as an enigmatic painting by Édouard Manet, found in his studio after his death.[48] Twentieth-century modernism is represented by a small but stellar group of works by artists including Odilon Redon, Vasily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Emil Nolde, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Yves Tanguy, and Jean Arp. A rare late work by Ilya Repin is among his most important works outside his native Russia.

One of most important works in the museum's postwar collection is Willem de Kooning's Black Friday, from his breakthrough exhibition in 1948. Other artists represented in the strong collection of postwar art include Romare Bearden, Lee Bontecou, Dan Flavin, Yayoi Kusama, Sol LeWitt, Morris Louis, Ad Reinhardt, Martha Rosler, David Smith, Robert Smithson, Frank Stella, and Hannah Wilke, among others. The museum's holding in Pop art are particularly strong, including works by George Segal, Tom Wesselmann, and Andy Warhol. The museum renewed its commitment to contemporary art in 2008, with priority given to works that make significant contributions to the field and exemplify the pressing cultural, social, and philosophical issues of their day. Recent acquisitions include artwork by Doug Aitken, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Polly Apfelbaum, Sanford Biggers, Ellen Gallagher, Wade Guyton, Matthew Day Jackson, Wangechi Mutu, and Javier Téllez.[49]

Media related to Modern art in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons


David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Dumbarton Presbytery, 1845[51]

Princeton's photography collection is one of the leading museum collections in the United States. The start of the collection was the 1949 gift by retired director Frank Jewett Mather Jr. of Alfred Stieglitz's landmark image The Steerage. The decisive moment for the medium at Princeton came in 1971 when David Hunter McAlpin, Class of 1920, made a donation of his collection of 457 prints. McAlpin was a friend and patron to two generations of American photographers, donating significant representations of the work of Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler, Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and Eliot Porter, among others. McAlpin also established a fund which has enabled, over time, the purchase of some 400 photographs, including work by Hill & Adamson, László Moholy-Nagy and William Henry Fox Talbot.[52][53]

In 1972, Peter C. Bunnell, later museum director, was hired as the David H. McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art, making Princeton the first American university, and one of only a few worldwide, where photography was taught within the art history curriculum. In his nearly thirty years at Princeton, he went on to build one of the foremost graduate programs in the field and to build one of the most notable teaching collections of historical photographs. The construction of the McAlpin Study Center during the expansion of the museum in 1989 created a space for seminars to be taught using original works from the collection.

The collection includes work covering all major movements and historical trends. Particular strengths include nineteenth-century British photography, French photographs of the 1850s-1870s, and Japanese and American postwar photography. The museum has major holdings in Pictorialism, anchored by the Clarence H. White collection and the archives of his eponymous school of photography. In 1976, Minor White bequeathed to the museum his negatives, library, correspondence, and close to 20,000 prints of his own and other artists. Other archives held by the museum include those of Ruth Bernhard and William B. Dyer.[52][53]

Media related to Photographs in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

Prints and drawings

Edgar Degas, Dancers, 1900, pastel with charcoal on tracing paper mounted on cream wove paper[57]

The collection of Prints and Drawings includes 15,000 works on paper as well as a small number of Illuminated manuscripts, by artists from the fourteenth century to the present. Notable areas of strength include old master and nineteenth-century European prints, Italian and Spanish Renaissance and Baroque drawings, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American and British drawings, watercolors, and sketchbooks, a selection of Indian and Persian miniature painting, and a large collection of modern and contemporary Latin American works on paper.

The print collection began with the large bequest of Junius Spencer Morgan, Class of 1888, in 1932, which included old master engravings and etchings, primarily by the notable seventeenth-century printmakers Hendrik Goltzius, Jacques Callot, and Stefano della Bella. In 1938, another bequest, by Dan Fellows Platt, Class of 1895, laid the foundation of the collection of drawings, with works from the sixteenth to early twentieth centuries, including notable groups by Guercino, Salvator Rosa, Giovanni Battista and Domenico Tiepolo, and George Romney. Frank Jewett Mather Jr., the museum's second director, made numerous purchases in the 1940s, including Italian Renaissance drawings, works on paper by Samuel Palmer, and watercolors by John Marin, and Paul Cézanne. In 1945, Professor Clifton R. Hall bequeathed his collection of old master prints and American watercolors, including three masterpieces by Edward Hopper. Hall also established an endowment for the Department of Art and Archaeology specifically for the purchase of works on paper, which has enabled the purchase of an exceptional collection of sixteenth- through eighteenth-century Spanish drawings.

Professor Felton Gibbons, following Hall's example, endowed a fund for acquiring works on paper that has allowed gaps in the collection to be filled, including Northern and Central European drawings, and to add to other areas of significance, such as German Expressionism. The modern and contemporary holdings continue to grow, with an emphasis on artists such as Glenn Ligon, Martin Puryear, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kiki Smith, who are a vital part of the teaching curriculum of the University.[58]

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Media related to Drawings in the Princeton University Art Museum at Wikimedia Commons

Private Collections on long-term loan

Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection

Henry Pearlman started his collection with the 1945 purchase, for $825, of Chaïm Soutine's View of Céret, seen in the window of the Parke-Bernet auction house while walking down Park Avenue. Pearlman had made his fortune through founding the Eastern Cold Storage Insulation Corporation in 1919 and knew little of Soutine or contemporary art at the time he started collecting.[66] He would go on to amass more than fifty masterworks of late 19th- to mid-20th-century avant-garde European art, one of the most distinguished private collections of modern art in the United States. Among the most notable works are Paul Cézanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire, Vincent van Gogh's Tarascon Stagecoach, and Amedeo Modigliani's portrait of Jean Cocteau.[67]

The heart of the collection is the finest and best preserved collection of watercolors by Cézanne in the world, sixteen works including Three Pears, which was fought over by Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, with Degas as the victor, at Cézanne's first sale.[66] In addition to the thirty-three works by Cézanne, including the watercolors, six oil paintings, six prints, and five drawings, the collection boasts seven paintings by Soutine, two each by Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, and one each by van Gogh, Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier, Édouard Manet, Maurice Utrillo, and Maurice Prendergast. Sculpture is represented through works by Paul Gauguin, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Jacques Lipchitz, and Amedeo Modigliani, who is also represented by two oil paintings and one drawing. The one exception to the modern focus of the collection is an engraving by Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve. Henry Pearlman himself is represented by a bust by Giacomo Manzu and a portrait by Oskar Kokoschka.[68]

The collection has been much exhibited, including an international tour in 2014-16 which included the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University, where it was the museum's most popular exhibition on record,[69] the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada, ending at the Princeton University Art Museum,[67] where the collection has been on long-term loan since 1976.[70]

Media related to the Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection at Wikimedia Commons


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  4. ^ Ting, Isabel (September 18, 2018). "Architect selected for new University Art Museum". Daily Princetonian.
  5. ^ "Monuments Men Foundation I World War II I Art Preservation I Museum Network Connections". MonumentsMenFdn.
  6. ^ a b Steward & p. ix.
  7. ^ Steward, p. 184.
  8. ^ Steward & p. x.
  9. ^ Steward & p. x-xii.
  10. ^ Steward & p. xii-xiii.
  11. ^ Rhinehart, Raymond (2000). Princeton University: The Campus Guide. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-1568982090.
  12. ^ Maynard, William Barksdale (2012). Princeton: America's Campus. Penn State University Press. pp. 193–95. ISBN 978-0271050867.
  13. ^ Steward & p. xiii-xiv.
  14. ^ Steward & p. xv-xvii.
  15. ^ "15 Best Small-Town Museums in the U.S." Fodor's Travel. March 4, 2015.
  16. ^ Nancy Kenney (September 23, 2020), Stone, bronze, glass, pathways: Princeton University Art Museum unveils David Adjaye's design The Art Newspaper.
  17. ^ Alex Greenberger (September 23, 2020), David Adjaye Reveals Elegant Designs for Princeton University’s Art Museum: ‘A Campus Within a Campus’ ARTnews.
  18. ^ Nancy Kenney (September 23, 2020), Stone, bronze, glass, pathways: Princeton University Art Museum unveils David Adjaye's design The Art Newspaper.
  19. ^ Steward, p. 169.
  20. ^ Steward, p. 147.
  21. ^ Steward, p. 248.
  22. ^ Steward, p. 225.
  23. ^ Steward, p. 228.
  24. ^ Bayley, Frank William; Perkins, Augustus Thorndike (1915). The Life and Works of John Singleton Copley: Founded on the Work of Augustus Thorndike Perkins. Taylor Press. pp. 254–5.
  25. ^ Steward, p. 239.
  26. ^ Steward, p. 258.
  27. ^ Steward, p. 256.
  28. ^ Steward, p. 61.
  29. ^ Steward, p. 107.
  30. ^ Steward, pp. 20–21.
  31. ^ Patton, Andy J. (2013). ""A Painter's Brush That Also Makes Poems": Contemporary Painting After Northern Song Calligraphy". Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository, Paper 1302.
  32. ^ Steward, p. 3.
  33. ^ Steward, pp. 226–7.
  34. ^ "Campus Collections". Princeton University Art Museum.
  35. ^ Maynard, William Barksdale (2012). Princeton: America's Campus. Penn State University Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-0271050867.
  36. ^ Maynard, William Barksdale (2012). Princeton: America's Campus. Penn State University Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0271050867.
  37. ^ "William III, King of England, Prince of Orange and Nassau (1650–1702) (PP1)". Princeton University Art Museum.
  38. ^ "George II, King of England (1683–1760) (PP2)". Princeton University Art Museum.
  39. ^ Steward, p. 252.
  40. ^ Steward, pp. 196–7.
  41. ^ a b c Steward, p. 173.
  42. ^ a b c d "European Art". Princeton University Art Museum. Princeton University.
  43. ^ "Gisant: knight in armor". Princeton University Art Museum. Princeton University.
  44. ^ Steward, p. 176.
  45. ^ Steward, p. 193.
  46. ^ Steward, p. 210.
  47. ^ Steward, p. 219.
  48. ^ Manet, Édouard; Cachin, Françoise; Moffett, Charles S.; Bareau, Juliet Wilson (1983). Manet, 1832-1883. New York City: Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 93–95. ISBN 978-0870993596.
  49. ^ "Modern and Contemporary Art". Princeton University Art Museum. Princeton University.
  50. ^ Steward, p. 214.
  51. ^ Steward, p. 366.
  52. ^ a b "Photography". Princeton University Art Museum. Princeton University.
  53. ^ a b Steward, p. 363.
  54. ^ Steward, p. 369.
  55. ^ Steward, p. 375.
  56. ^ Steward, p. 381.
  57. ^ Steward, pp. 344–5.
  58. ^ Steward, p. 313.
  59. ^ Steward, p. 315.
  60. ^ Steward, p. 321.
  61. ^ Steward, p. 341.
  62. ^ Steward, p. 314.
  63. ^ Steward, pp. 324–35.
  64. ^ Steward, p. 342.
  65. ^ "Mont Sainte-Victoire (La Montagne Sainte-Victoire)". Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection.
  66. ^ a b Wullschlager, Jackie (March 14, 2014). "Cézanne and modern masterpieces from the Pearlman Collection". Financial Times.
  67. ^ a b DeLue, Rachael Z. "Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection". Yale University Press.
  68. ^ "Artists". Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection.
  69. ^ Pleming, Clemency. "Last chance to see the Ashmolean's most popular exhibition ever". University of Oxford.
  70. ^ "Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection". Princeton University Art Museum.
  71. ^ "Three Pears (Trois Poires)". Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection.
  72. ^ "Vincent van Gogh". The Pearlman Foundation.
  73. ^ "After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (Après le bain, femme s'essuyant)". Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection.
  74. ^ "Jean Cocteau". Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection.


External links

Media files used on this page

Princeton University Art Museum - Hermaphroditus.jpg
Greek, Hellenistic

Statuette of Hermaphrodite, 2nd century B.C. White marble h. 149.1 cm., w. 27.5 cm., d. 13.2 cm. (58 11/16 x 10 13/16 x 5 3/16 in.) Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1922, Fund Place made: possibly from Rhodes 2009-81

In this statuette, said to have been found on Rhodes, the god is naked except for a mantle that falls below the male genitals, which stand in contrast to the girlish face and the feminine modeling of the body. Leaning against a pillar, she apparently once held a wine jug in her right hand and an offering dish in her left. The figure's lithe form and sweet sensuality are characteristic of the so-called Rococo phase of the Late Hellenistic period. Another larger example of this sculpture type was found at Pergamon, in western Turkey, a cosmopolitan center whose Attalid rulers fostered the cults of a variety of gods. These sculptures were not salacious curiosities but objects of sincere devotion, representing the dichotomy of human nature and the yearning for unity in the face of ambivalent desire.
Oak chair made by Charles Rohlfs, 1898-99, Princeton University Art Museum.JPG
Oak chair made by Charles Rohlfs, 1898-99
institution QS:P195,Q2603905
1890, Degas, After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself.jpg
To achieve a dry, pastel look, some of the oil was leached out of the paint before it was applied. The pattern for the background wallpaper was made by first brushing on a faint wash of red paint for the background, and then applying spots of gray and orange paint with the fingers (some fingerprints are visible under magnification).
1916, Modigliani, Jean Cocteau.jpg
Modigliani moved from his native Italy to Paris in 1906 and soon became part of the city's vibrant artistic and literary culture. His portraits often portray friends from this bohemian world, such as the poet, playwright, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. Cocteau's elongated head, neck, and nose, as well as his simplified features, recall the artist's sculptural work, which was informed by his study of the so-called "primitive" forms of non-Western sculpture. The color tonalities, drawing style, and overall composition of the portrait reflect the strong influence of Cézanne.
Princeton University Art Museum (1892).png
The original building of the Princeton University Art Museum, built 1890, designed by A. Page Brown, demolished 1963. Princeton University Library. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.. Box AD01, Item 7398
View from Inspiration Point.jpg
Carleton Watkins, American, 1829–1916

View from Inspiration Point, 1879 Albumen print image: 39.5 x 54.2 cm. (15 9/16 x 21 5/16 in.) mount (album): 50.2 x 65.2 cm. (19 3/4 x 25 11/16 in.) Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund

The Mocking of Christ (van Dyck).jpg
Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599–1641

The Mocking of Christ, 1628–30 Oil on canvas 112 x 93 cm. (44 1/8 x 36 5/8 in.) frame: 134.6 x 116.2 x 8.9 cm. (53 x 45 3/4 x 3 1/2 in.) Museum purchase, gift of the Charles Ulrick and Josephine Bay Foundation, Inc., through Colonel C. Michael Paul

Princeton University Art Museum Side View.JPG
Author/Creator: PointsofNoReturn, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Princeton University Art Museum Side View
1914, Henri, Robert, Mildred Clarke von Kienbusch.jpg
Robert Henri, American, 1865–1929

Mildred Clarke von Kienbusch, 1914 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm. (24 x 20 1/16 in.) frame: 81.4 × 71 × 7 cm (32 1/16 × 27 15/16 × 2 3/4 in.) Bequest of Carl Otto von Kienbusch, Class of 1906, for the Carl Otto von Kienbusch Jr. Memorial Collection y1977-26

Early in 1914, Mildred Clarke von Kienbusch and her husband, Carl Otto, attended a New York exhibition of paintings by The Eight, a group consisting of former newspaper illustrators like Robert Henri, its founder, who had come together in frustration over the perceived rarefied atmosphere at the National Academy of Design and its restrictive exhibition policies. Attracted to Henri’s grittily vital aesthetic, the young von Kienbusches looked him up in the telephone book. The eventual result was this portrait — characteristic of Henri’s work at the time in its subdued palette enlivened by splashes of bright color — which Carl, who subsequently became one of the Museum’s major benefactors, donated in memory of his wife.
Brig on the Water.jpg
Gustave Le Gray, French, 1820–1882

Brig on the Water, 1856 Albumen print image: 29.4 x 39.9 cm. (11 9/16 x 15 11/16 in.) sheet: 44.2 x 54.4 cm. (17 3/8 x 21 7/16 in.) Museum purchase, John Maclean Magie, Class of 1892, and Gertrude Magie Fund

Guercino, Boy in a Large Hat, 1630s-40s.jpg
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Cento 1591–1666 Bologna

Boy in a Large Hat, 1630s–40s Pen and brown ink with brush and brown wash on beige laid paper 16.5 × 12.1 cm. (6 1/2 × 4 3/4 in.) Bequest of Dan Fellows Platt, Class of 1895 x1948-1294

This drawing clearly attests to Guercino’s standing as one of the most creative and prolific caricaturists of the seventeenth century. The word caricature comes from the Italian caricatura, indicating something “loaded” or “charged.” Caricature drawings are “loaded” as they exaggerate specific features or make odd juxtapositions that emphasize difference. Guercino’s caricatures are marvelous examples of his fertile imagination, and of his curiosity and gentle humor, yet at the same time they reveal the artist’s keen and compassionate observation of humanity

Guercino’s caricatures grew out of the revolutionary naturalism in painting developed by the Carracci (Annibale, Agostino, and Ludovico) and their followers in Bologna beginning in the early 1580s. The Carracci’s innovative curriculum of drawing instruction emphasized nature’s unidealized beauty as a primary source for artists. Although Leonardo da Vinci had made influential physiognomic studies of old men and women at the beginning of the sixteenth century, these had a scientific focus and a penchant for the grotesque that were quite different from the simple humor produced in the Carracci’s sketches.
Luçon Master, Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1405.jpg
Attributed to the Luçon Master, French (Paris), active ca. 1390–1417

Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1405 Tempera and gold leaf on parchment 18.5 x 13.5 cm. (7 5/16 x 5 5/16 in.) Gift of Harold K. Hochschild

Elizabeth Allen Marquand.jpg
Elizabeth Allen Marquand
Édouard Manet - Gitane avec une cigarette.jpg
Catalogue Entry:

This painting, found in Manet’s studio after his death, was never exhibited, and no indication of its original title has been discovered. Purchased by Edgar Degas, it was listed in early sales as Indian Woman or Mexican Woman. The gypsy designation appeared relatively late but has been accepted. Though a date in the 1860s is traditional — based on comparisons with Spanish dancers whom Manet saw perform at the Paris Hippodrome in 1862 — Juliet Wilson-Bareau recently suggested that the composition is closer to works from the 1870s.

Spanish culture and painting fascinated Manet, and the loose, expressive brushwork of Velázquez and Goya heavily influenced him. The subject and identity of the model are perhaps less critical for the interpretation than the way in which the artist presents this exotic "other," who transgresses the norms associated with respectable French women of the era. Dark skin and tousled black hair mark her as an outsider, as does the bold, frontal pose. With one hand on her hip and a cigarette dangling from her lips, she exudes audacious self-confidence. Her gaze into the distance lends a thoughtful, even contemplative air. Manet’s composition is equally daring. It includes passages that are difficult to read and optical inconsistencies, like the form on which the woman leans. Objects are cropped at unusual places — the horse’s head is cut off behind the ear. Manet seems to have considered the canvas unfinished, and it is difficult to know how he would have completed it. Gypsy with a Cigarette thus remains a tantalizing work, one of Manet’s most enigmatic images of a daydreaming woman.

Gallery Label:

Manet first became interested in gypsies in the early 1860s. Here, he presents his anonymous sitter as an exotic "other" who transgresses the norms associated with respectable French women—and polite society in general—of his time. The woman’s dark skin and tousled black hair mark her as an outsider, as does her bold frontal pose. With her left hand on her hip, her head leaning casually against her right hand, and a cigarette dangling from her lips, she exudes audacious self-confidence, while her gaze into the distance lends the work a thoughtful, even contemplative, air. Subjects such as this gave artists a freedom denied them in commissioned works.
Catalogue Entry:

Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge represents two of Monet’s greatest achievements: his gardens at Giverny and the paintings they inspired. Monet moved to Giverny in 1883 and immediately began to develop the property. For him, the gardens were both a passion and a second artistic medium. His Asian garden was not part of the original estate; it was located on an adjacent property with a small brook, which he purchased and enlarged into a pond for a water garden in 1893. He transformed the site into an inspired vision of cool greens and calm, reflective waters, enhanced by exotic plants such as bamboo, ginkgo, and Japanese fruit trees and a Japanese footbridge. It was not until 1899, however, that he began a series of views of the site, of which this is one.

A careful craftsman who reworked his canvases multiple times, Monet was committed to painting directly from nature as much as possible and for as long as he had the correct conditions; thus, he could work on as many as eight or more canvases a day, devoting as little as an hour or less to each. In this case, he set up his easel at the edge of the water-lily pond and worked on several paintings of the subject as part of a single process.

Monet’s gardens and paintings show the same fascination with the effects of time and weather on the landscape. Both are brilliant expressions of his unique visual sensitivity and emotional response to nature. At Giverny, he literally shaped nature for his brush, cultivating vistas to paint.

Gallery Label:

Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge represents two of Monet’s greatest achievements: his gardens at Giverny and the paintings they inspired. In 1883 the artist moved to the country-town Giverny, near Paris but just across the border of Normandy. This was a time when he was enjoying increasing financial success as an artist, and he immediately began to redesign the property.

In 1893, Monet purchased an adjacent tract, which included a small brook, and transformed the site into an Asian-inspired oasis of cool greens, exotic plants, and calm waters, enhanced by a Japanese footbridge. The serial approach embodied in this work—one of about a dozen paintings in which Monet returned to the same view under differing weather and light conditions—was one of his great formal innovations. He was committed to painting directly from nature as much as possible and whenever weather permitted, sometimes working simultaneously on eight or more canvases a day. Monet’s project to capture ever-shifting atmospheric conditions came to be a hallmark of the Impressionist style.
The Four Evangelists (Abraham Bloemaert).jpg
The four evangelists traditionally appeared alone, but in 1526, Albrecht Dürer showed two groups of two evangelists, and about 1566, Frans Floris showed all four together. Other artists followed suit. Bloemaert’s student Hendrick Terbruggen (1588–1629) and Peter Paul Rubens prolonged the theme, but it disappeared after 1621.

Here the Utrecht painter attempts to unify the evangelists and their symbols in a logical, horizontal composition. Luke with his ox, Mark with his lion, John with his eagle, and Matthew with his angel are gathered around a table, each figure intently writing his Gospel. Mark’s lion peeks out from underneath a heavy carpet. Bloemaert boldly poses Matthew with his back toward the viewer, perhaps to convey an impression of an uncontrived gathering of figures in a realistic setting. The scene is set in a shallow space, but the vibrant coloring of the figures, the angularity of their poses, and the frontal lighting give the composition a feeling of depth. Various naturally observed details stand out, such as the broken rush seat of Matthew’s humble chair and Luke’s ox, which gazes out from this learned gathering. The patron saint of artists and doctors, Luke is shown with the tools of these professions, including the artist’s palette and the doctor’s bottle for urine samples, and he is writing the Gospel in Greek characters. One of the folio volumes at his feet bears Bloemaert’s signature on the spine.

Utrecht was a Catholic stronghold, and ­Bloemaert, a practicing Catholic, was a founding member of its painter’s guild in 1611; he had patrons in both the Northern and the Southern Netherlands. The location for which this painting was commissioned has not been identified. The subject of the four evangelists appealed to both Catholics and Protestants, so it might have been a "safe" subject for a Northern Netherlandish Catholic church.
Young Woman in a Black and Green Bonnet, Looking Down.jpg
One of America’s leading expatriate artists, Mary Cassatt settled in Paris in 1874, where she was greatly influenced by the pastels of her friend and mentor Edgar Degas. Pastel was described as Mary Cassatt’s "specific genre" in a review written in November 1889, by which time she had mastered the exacting technique of drawing with pastel, fully exploiting the medium’s painterly and spontaneous qualities. In this superb example, she depicts a seated, fashionably dressed woman with arm bent and elbow resting on the back of a cushioned chair. Cassatt’s bold strokes on the bonnet and colorful upholstery enliven these inanimate surfaces and offset the higher degree of finish on the woman’s face. The work relates to two others in which the identical model is shown arranging the veil of the black and green bonnet or sewing. Here, the focus is entirely on her pensive state. Since she is shown with hat and gloves, the environment is ambiguously public. This is neither one of Cassatt’s contemplative women reposing at home, nor one of Degas’s female subjects posing before the mirror at the milliner’s. While Cassatt’s sitters typically avoid the viewer’s gaze, here the total concealment of the woman’s eyes by her bonnet pays deference to her psychological privacy.
Dumbarton Presbytery.jpg
David Octavius Hill and, British, 1802–1870 Robert Adamson, British, 1821–1848

Dumbarton Presbytery, 1845 Salted paper print 14.5 x 20.2 cm. (5 11/16 x 7 15/16 in.) mount: 36.1 x 27.5 cm. (14 3/16 x 10 13/16 in.) Robert O. Dougan Collection, gift of Warner Communications, Inc.

Bosch follower Christ Before Pilate (Princeton).jpg
Christ is a center of calm and beauty amidst the howling mob that has brought him to trial before Pontius Pilate. The governor is ready to wash his hands of Jesus, saying “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” and delivering him to be scourged and crucified (Matthew 27:24–26). The artist seems familiar with Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of “ideal ugliness,” counterparts to his studies of “ideal beauty,” and has used bizarre visages to convey the degradation of fallen humanity. The viewer sees up-close the gruesome figures with distorted features and nose rings thanks to the half-length format and crowding of figures against the picture plane. These are typical features of a type of Flemish devotional picture then in favor. The Gothic architectural elements in the upper corners suggest the staged quality of the scene and create a theater of piety and morality that suspends Pilate’s action in time.
Princeton University Nassau tigers.jpg

Bronze tiger sculptures by Alexander Phimister Proctor (1862-1950), dedicated 1909, in front of Nassau Hall doors; Princeton University; Princeton, New Jersey


This is an image of a place or building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America. Its reference number is 66000465.

1904, Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire.jpg
Cézanne first painted Mont Sainte-Victoire in 1870, beginning his decades-long fascination with the subject that ultimately yielded more than thirty paintings and watercolors of it. The peak played an important role in the ancient history of his native Aix-en-Provence. Its name refers to a Roman victory in 102 b.c. over Teutonic armies in the area. Cézanne created his later views of Sainte-Victoire, including this one, in his hillside studio at Les Lauves, where he was afforded a magnifi cent view of the soaring mountain from across the valley, with its farmland and distinctive olive and almond trees. -gallery label from the Princeton University Art Museum
Hine, Lewis, Adolescent Girl, a Spinner, in a Carolina Cotton Mill, 1908.jpg
Lewis W. Hine, American, 1874–1940

Adolescent Girl, a Spinner, in a Carolina Cotton Mill, 1908 Gelatin silver print image: 19.2 x 24.2 cm. (7 9/16 x 9 1/2 in.) sheet: 20.3 x 25.3 cm. (8 x 9 15/16 in.) Anonymous gift

Rainy Day, Fifth Avenue.jpg
Childe Hassam, American, 1859–1935

Rainy Day, Fifth Avenue, 1916 Oil on canvas 46 x 39 cm. (18 1/8 x 15 3/8 in.) frame: 63.5 × 56.2 × 5 cm (25 × 22 1/8 × 1 15/16 in.) Gift of Albert E. McVitty, Class of 1898

Mosaic pavement drinking contest of Herakles and Dionysos.jpg
Stone and glass

h. 526.0 cm., w. 527.0 cm. (207 1/16 x 207 1/2 in.) figural scene: h. 229.2 cm., w. 295.5 cm. (90 1/4 x 116 5/16 in.) Gift of the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch to Princeton University

The Engraved Passion.jpg
This unique prayer book was probably made for Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. The image of the Man of Sorrows by the Column, illustrated here, is placed at the end of the pictorial narrative. Unlike the other engravings in the series, it does not depict a particular event from the Passion. As a symbolic image, it combines Christ's sacrifice and its redemptive meaning, both of which are reflected in the text of the facing prayer.
1888, Cézanne, Three Pears.jpg
Paul Cézanne, French, 1839–1906

Three Pears, ca. 1888–90 Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on cream laid paper 24.2 x 31 cm. (9 1/2 x 12 3/16 in.) The Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, on long-term loan to the Princeton University Art Museum L.1988.62.32

Rewald (1983) 298 Venturi (1936) 1136
Relief with Menander and New Comedy Masks - Princeton Art Museum.jpg
Roman, Republican or Early Imperial

Relief of a seated poet (Menander) with masks of New Comedy, 1st century B.C. – early 1st century A.D. White marble, probably Italian h. 48.5 cm., w. 59.5 cm., d. 8.5 cm. (17 7/16 x 23 7/16 x 3 3/8 in.) Museum purchase, Caroline G. Mather Fund y1951-1

- the masks show three of his canonical New Comedy characters: youth, false maiden, old man. Collection of Princeton Art Museum.
Kneller, Godfrey, George II, King of England (1683-1760), ca. 1727-32.jpg
British artist

After Sir Godfrey Kneller, British, 1646–1723 George II, King of England (1683–1760), ca. 1727–32 Oil on canvas 242.2 x 153 cm. (95 3/8 x 60 1/4 in.) 276.9 x 184.1 cm. (109 x 72 1/2 in.) (frame) Princeton University, gift of members of the Classes of 1894 and 1919 PP2

It was under the reign of George II that the charter of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) was granted. In January 1761, a life size portrait of the King was delivered to Princeton from Great Britain and hung in what is now the Faculty Room in Nassau Hall. The College President at the time, Samuel Davies, preached a funeral sermon on the King who had recently died. Sixteen years later, during the Battle of Princeton when Nassau Hall was bombarded by the American troops, a cannon ball came through a window and destroyed the portrait.

The portrait of George II seen here was presented to the University in 1936 by four alumni believing it be by the same artist who painted the earlier portrait, Charles Jarvis, court painter to George II. More recently, research has uncovered that this portrait is after Sir Godfrey Kneller’s (British, 1646-1723) portrait of George II when Prince of Wales that resides in the Royal Collection, London. In Princeton’s portrait, George the II is presented as King with royal orb and scepter. The identity of the copyist, who was probably a contemporary of Jarvis, has not yet been established.
Holzer, J. A., Homeric Story (center detail), 1894.jpg
J. A. Holzer, Swiss, 1858 - 1935

Homeric Story (center detail), 1894 Mosaic Princeton University

Redon, Odilon, Apparition, 1905-10.jpg
Catalogue Entry:

Late in his career, Redon abandoned charcoal ­drawing and lithography to embrace color, working in pastels and oil paints. With this shift came a change of mood; the brooding melancholy and nightmarish anxiety of his noirs (charcoal drawings) gave way to emotional tranquility and the pursuit of visual pleasure. Here, he marginalizes the figures, giving more space to a phantasmagorical cascade of butterflies, flowers, and suggestively organic shapes — a disorienting field of pulsating colors and textures, seemingly liberated from ­contingencies of the everyday world.

The profuse natural forms and color bursts give visual expression to Redon’s metaphors of artistic creation. He described artistic originality as a "flower" to be cultivated, and the work of art as a product of a gestational process in the artist’s mind, whereby plastic or material elements have been "illuminated" or "irradiated" by the painter’s spirit. The ideal artwork also spurs thoughts or dreams in the viewer. Flowers were his pretext for decorative arrangements of color, which, like many Symbolists, he likened to musical harmonies occasioning flights of reverie and ambiguous, indeterminate ideas. While the artist enveloped himself in the private world of dreams, viewers were invited to immerse themselves in contemplation of his work, to find in its richly colored surfaces an escape from the pressures and miseries of daily life, a balm for the soul.

To underscore his conception of art as a site of spiritual communion and sanctuary, Redon shows an arched opening, framing a dark space suggestive of a temple or church. Above a flight of steps (the only conventional spatial cues) two wraith-like figures shrouded in white advance with ritual purpose. One holds a bunch of flowers and moves forward gracefully, even seductively, her curves accentuated. The other stands solemnly, hieratically motionless, emitting a saintly aureole of light. We might find in the mysterious pairing an allegory for Redon’s late work more generally, an art in which sensual attraction and spiritual illumination go hand in hand.

Gallery Label:

During the 1890s, Redon shifted his attention from charcoal drawing and lithography to a practice that embraced color, working in pastels and oil paints. With this shift came a change of mood: the brooding melancholy and nightmarish anxiety of the "noirs" (as he called his works done in shades of black) gave way to emotional tranquility and the pursuit of visual pleasure. Most of Apparition is devoted to a phantasmagorical cascade of butterflies, flowers, and suggestively organic shapes—a disorienting field of pulsating colors and textures, seemingly liberated from contingencies of the everyday world. Somewhat marginalized in the distance, a wraithlike figure holds a bunch of flowers and moves forward gracefully while another figure stands motionless, emitting a saintly aureole of light. Perhaps Redon included the pair to suggest an allegory for his later work, in which sensual attraction and spiritual illumination are commingled.
Ethiopian, Illuminated Manuscript, 18th century.jpg

Illuminated Manuscript, 18th century Vellum, tempera, and leather binding 32 x 22 x 6 cm. (12 5/8 x 8 11/16 x 2 3/8 in.) Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. Place made: Ethiopia y1951-28

The Ethiopian Christian community traces its roots to the fourth century, when the emperor of Aksum converted to Christianity. Shortly afterward, Christian texts were translated into Ge’ez, the liturgical language of Ethiopia, and new religious tracts were composed. This illuminated manuscript contains songs of the prophets, praises of Mary, psalms, and prayers, as well as legendary and apocryphal accounts of Mary. Of exceptional quality, it likely was manufactured at the royal scriptorium in the capital, Gondar. A hand-drawn image included with the manuscript indicates that Emperor Mənilək II may have acquired it to give to his wife, Queen Taytu Betul have represented the triumph of good over evil in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church since the thirteenth century.
Angelica Kauffmann - Portrait of Sarah Harrop (Mrs. Bates) as a Muse - Google Art Project.jpg
Catalogue Entry:

Angelica Kauffmann’s portrait of the renowned singer Sarah Harrop (Mrs. Bates), arguably the artist’s masterpiece in portraiture, is a rare representation of a self-made woman, the great Handelian performer Sarah Harrop (1755–1811), by one of the very few professional women artists of the period. Kauffmann, one of two female cofounders of Britain’s Royal Academy, shows Harrop seated in the wilderness, a lyre at her side and a rolled sheet of music in her hand. The mountain, Mount Parnassos, is the home of the Muses, and the waterfall issues from the Hippocrene spring. The lyre most likely identifies Erato, the Muse of lyric poetry, and while the instrument is based on ancient types, the sheet music grounds the portrait in the eighteenth century, for it is recognizably an aria from George Frideric Handel’s opera Rodelinda, Queen of the Lombards (1725).

The picture, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1781, dates from around the time of Harrop’s marriage in 1780, a marriage to which she brought a substantial personal fortune made through her talents as a performer. The music hints at a personal meaning. The aria "Dove sei, l’amato bene" is sung not by Rodelinda but by her husband, whose longing words must have been chosen specifically for their personal significance in what was almost certainly a marriage portrait. That Kauffmann the artist was also married at about this time, to a fellow artist of more pedestrian talents, Antonio Zucchi, only deepens its resonance.

Gallery Label:

This rare portrait of a self-made woman by one of the few professional female artists of the period suggests an unusual sympathy between artist and sitter. Kauffmann, one of two female founding members of London’s Royal Academy, shows Harrop in the wilderness, a lyre by her side and a roll of music in her hand. The background alludes to Mount Parnassus, the home of the ancient muses, while the lyre likely identifies Erato, the muse of lyric poetry. The sheet music grounds the portrait in the modern world: it is an aria from George Frideric Handel’s opera Rodelinda, Queen of the Lombards (1725).

The picture dates from the time of Harrop’s marriage and the music reinforces its role as a marriage portrait. The aria “Dove sei, l’amato bene” is sung by Rodelinda’s husband, King Bertarido, in hiding and believed dead, when he learns his wife has agreed to marry the usurper to save the life of their son. This plaintive aria begs Rodelinda to console his soul and laments that he can bear his torments only with her. Harrop, whose husband and mentor was a musician of modest origins and a promoter of Handel’s works, was a celebrated interpreter of the composer’s operas and oratorios.
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Caspar Netscher, Dutch, 1639–1684

William III, King of England, Prince of Orange and Nassau (1650–1702), ca. 1672–89 Oil on canvas 75 x 62 cm. (29 1/2 x 24 7/16 in.) 97.8 x 76.8 cm. (38 1/2 x 30 1/4 in.) (frame) Princeton University, gift of members of the Class of 1894 PP1

King William III, the Prince of Orange and Nassau obtained the throne of England during the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 and represented himself as the champion of Protestantism. When Princeton was founded, he already had a college named for him and his wife in the New World-the College of William and Mary. The name Nassau Hall and College color orange were chosen in his honor.
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Paul Gauguin, French, 1848–1903

The Universe is Created (L'Univers est créé), from the Noa Noa suite, 1893–94 Woodcut printed in black on thin rose-colored wove paper sheet trimmed to block: 20.7 x 35.5 cm. (8 1/8 x 14 in.) Museum purchase, Laura P. Hall Memorial Fund

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Chinese, Northern Song dynasty, 960–1127

Huang Tingjian 黃庭堅, 1045 - 1105 Place made: China Scroll for Zhang Datong (Zeng Zhang Datong guwen ti ji 贈張大同古文 **), 1100 Handscroll; ink on paper Calligraphy: 34.1 x 552.9 cm. (13 7/16 x 217 11/16 in.) Colophons: 34.8 x 303.3 cm. (13 11/16 x 119 7/16 in.) Mount: h. 36.4 cm. (14 5/16 in.) Gift of John B. Elliott, Class of 1951

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This is a map of Mercer County, New Jersey, USA which includes incorporated settlements, township borders, and major highways.
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God L residing in his palace and surrounded by young women (Hero Twins not part of this detail)

Catalogue Entry:
The masterful calligraphic painting on the Princeton Vase is the finest known example of Maya "codex style" ceramic art. Graceful, sure lines painted on a cream slip present a theatrically composed mythological scene, while subtle visual devices encourage the viewer to turn the drinking vessel, adding a temporal unfolding to the visual experience. On one side (seen here), an old, toothless underworld god sits on a throne that is placed within a conventionalized depiction of a palace structure, represented by the pier behind him and what is likely a cornice above. The cornice is adorned with two jawless jaguars framing a frontal shark face. Curtains, which were used as doors among the ancient Maya, have been furled and tied to reveal the old lord seated within. This deity, known among scholars as God L, wears his characteristic open-weave brocaded shawl and broad-brimmed hat bedecked with owl feathers and a stuffed owl with wings outstretched. In addition to ruling Xibalba, the Maya underworld, God L was the patron deity of tobacco and merchants. Five elegant female figures — daughters or concubines — surround him. Each wears a loose, flowing sarong, decorated with batik-like dyed patterns rendered in soft brown wash, and jewelry at the ears, neck, and wrists. One of the women behind God L pours chocolate, frothing the bitter delicacy from a vessel of the same form as the Princeton Vase. A rabbit scribe, who may be spying on God L, sits below, recording the actions of the scene in a book with jaguar-pelt covers. God L delicately ties a bracelet on the woman before him, while another woman taps her foot to draw her attention—and the viewer’s—to the gruesome scene at left, in which two men wearing elaborate masks and wielding axes decapitate a bound and stripped figure. The victim’s serpent-umbilicus curls out to bite one of the executioners. The scene closely parallels a portion of the Popol Vuh, a sixteenth-century K’iche’ Maya mythological narrative wherein the Hero Twins trick the lords of the underworld into requesting their own decapitations. As is common in mythological narratives throughout the Americas, these heroes win the day not through Herculean feats of brute strength, but through cunning, and often humorous, trickery. The formulaic texts at the upper edge of the Princeton Vase serve to consecrate the vessel, to specify that it was intended for drinking "maize tree" chocolate, and to designate its owner, a lord named Muwaan K’uk’. The vase would have been used in courtly feasts similar to the scene depicted.

Gallery Label:
On this side of the famous Maya chocolate-drinking cup known as the Princeton Vase, an old, toothless underworld god sits on a throne within a palace, represented by the pier behind him and a cornice above. Curtains, which were used as doors among the ancient Maya, have been pulled up to reveal the interior scene. This deity, known among scholars as God L, wears his characteristic shawl and a broadbrimmed hat bedecked with owl feathers and an owl. In addition to ruling the Maya underworld, God L was the patron deity of tobacco and merchants. Five elegant female figures—possibly concubines— surround him. A rabbit scribe, who might be spying on God L, sits below, writing in a book.

A standing woman with her head bent in concentration suggests that the viewer rotate the vase to the left. She holds a vessel similar in size and shape to the Princeton Vase, and a stream of liquid pours down from it, presumably into a vessel whose rendering has eroded. This method of preparation likely frothed the bitter chocolate beverage that this vessel was made to serve. The vertical pier or rear wall of a palace structure marks the boundaries of the overall composition on this vase, placing the selfreferential vignette of vessel use at the end of the scene, as a sort of addendum.

The most important moment in the narrative of the Princeton Vase appears on this side of the vessel. Two men wearing elaborate masks and wielding axes decapitate a bound and stripped figure, seen at the lower left; the victim’s serpent-umbilicus curls out to bite one of the executioners. The scene closely parallels a portion of the Popol Vuh, a sixteenth-century K’iche’ Maya mythological narrative in which the Hero Twins trick the lords of the underworld into requesting their own decapitations. As is common in mythological narratives throughout the Americas, these heroes win the day not through feats of brute strength but through cunning, and often humorous, trickery.

With graceful, sure lines painted on a cream slip, the Princeton Vase presents a story that stretches around the entire object. Because passing or turning the drinking cup is necessary for full comprehension of the narrative, subtle visual devices between the primary scenes encourage the viewer to rotate the vessel, creating a temporal unfolding of the visual experience. Here, for example, a young noblewoman taps the foot of the woman in front of her while turning her head in the opposite direction: she is between two scenes and encourages her companion (and thus the viewer) to shift her attention around the vase.
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The Faculty Room of Nassau Hall at Princeton University in 1886 during its time as a museum space. Princeton University Library. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.. Box MP42, Item 1256
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"Oval with Points", Henry Moore, Installed 1971. Princeton University. Unsigned, no copyright notice. [1]
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Japanese, Edo period, 1600–1868

Hon'ami Kōetsu, 1558 - 1637 Place made: Japan Selections from the New Collection of Japanese Poems from Ancient and Modern Times (Shinkokin wakashū) with Printed Designs of Plants and Animals, before 1615 Handscroll; ink and mica on colored paper 24.1 x 414.5 cm. (9 1/2 x 163 3/16 in.) Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund; Executive Committee of The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection in Japan; and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art

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Asher Brown Durand, American, 1796–1886

Landscape, 1859 Oil on canvas 77 x 61.5 cm (30 5/16 x 24 3/16 in.) frame: 99 × 84 × 8.5 cm (39 × 33 1/16 × 3 3/8 in.) Gift of J. O. MacIntosh, Class of 1902

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Edgar Degas, French, 1834–1917

Bather (Standing Female Nude), ca. 1896 Charcoal and pastel on bright, light blue wove paper 47 x 32 cm. (18 1/2 x 12 5/8 in.) frame: 74.9 x 58.7 cm. (29 1/2 x 23 1/8 in.) Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr.

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Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606–1669

Christ Crucified between the Two Thieves (The Three Crosses), 1653–55 Drypoint and burin, fourth of five states plate: 38.5 x 45.0 cm. (15 3/16 x 17 11/16 in.) sheet: 43.4 x 48.4 cm. (17 1/16 x 19 1/16 in.) Gift of David H. McAlpin, Class of 1920, and Mrs. McAlpin in memory of Professor Clifton R. Hall x1969-310

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