Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)

Museum (United States)
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About

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) was founded in 1805 by painter and scientist Charles Willson Peale, sculptor William Rush, and other artists and business leaders.

The current museum building opened in 1876. Designed by the American architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt, it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. As such, it is recognized as an important part of America's and Philadelphia's architectural heritage. The collection is installed in a chronological and thematic format, exploring the history of American art from the 1760s to the present.

Since its founding, PAFA has collected works by leading American artists, as well as works by distinguished alumni and faculty of its school. Among the many masterpieces acquired during his tenure were works by Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, Frank Duvenek, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, and Edmund Tarbell. Work by The Eight, which included former PAFA students Robert Henri and John Sloan, is well represented in the collection, and provides a transition between 19th- and 20th- century art movements.

Today, PAFA maintains its strong collecting tradition with the inclusion of works by modern and contemporary American artists such as Jennifer Bartlett, Richard Diebenkorn, Nancy Graves, Alex Katz, Philip Pearlstein, Robert Motherwell, Raymond Saunders, and Frank Stella. Acquisitions and exhibition programs are balanced between historical and contemporary art, and the museum continues to show works by contemporary regional artists and features annual displays of work by PAFA students.

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