© Elizabeth Felicella / ESTO

Our Story

Mission

Founded by Paul Mellon (Yale College, Class of 1929), the Yale Center for British Art is the largest museum outside of the United Kingdom devoted to British art. Located in the final building designed by Louis I. Kahn, the Center is a focal point for modernist architecture. It is free and open to all.

Collections

The museum’s collections include more than 2,000 paintings, 250 sculptures, 20,000 drawings and watercolors, 40,000 prints, and 35,000 rare books and manuscripts dating from the fifteenth century to the present. More than 40,000 volumes supporting research in British art and related fields are available in the Reference Library. The collection is rich with historic works by John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, and J. M. W. Turner, as well as works by major artists of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, including Hurvin Anderson, Francis Bacon, Vanessa Bell, Sonia Boyce, Cecily Brown, Barbara Hepworth, Anish Kapoor, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Yinka Shonibare, and Barbara Walker.
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© Elizabeth Felicella / ESTO

Programs and Resources

The Center offers a year-round schedule of exhibitions and programs. Academic resources include the Reference Library and Photograph Archives, conservation laboratories, a Study Room for examining works on paper as well as rare books and manuscripts from the collection, and an online catalogue of the collections. An affiliated institution in London, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, awards grants and fellowships, publishes academic titles, and sponsors Yale’s first credit-granting undergraduate study abroad program, Yale in London.

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The Louis I. Kahn Building

One of the Center’s greatest treasures is the building itself. Opened to the public in 1977, the Yale Center for British Art is the last building designed by the internationally acclaimed American architect Louis I. Kahn. The structure integrates the dual functions of study center and gallery, while providing an environment for works of art that is appropriately elegant and dignified. The building stands across the street from Kahn’s first major commission, the Yale University Art Gallery (1953). Located in downtown New Haven, the Center is near many of the city’s best restaurants, theaters, and shops.

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University Advisory Committee for the Yale Center for British Art

The Advisory Committee provides insights and guidance to enhance the activities, building, collection, and mission of the YCBA.

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Diversity, Equity, Access, Inclusion, and Belonging

The Yale Center for British Art is committed to engaging a diverse range of perspectives in dialogue with British art and history. For more information on Yale University’s efforts to enhance diversity, support equity, and promote an environment of welcome, inclusion, and respect, visit Belonging at Yale.

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Installation of Portrait of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite (2017) by Kehinde Wiley (Yale MFA 2001), photo by Harold Shaprio.

Sustainability

The Yale Center for British Art is Green Workplace Certified by Yale’s Office of Sustainability. This Center is committed to advancing sustainability efforts within its own community and at Yale. Center staff participate in Yale’s Sustainability Leaders Program, and the Center has its own active Green Team. Among the Green Team’s accomplishments are the conversion of over 85 percent of all disposable paper products and cleaning products to earth-friendly alternatives.

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William Henry Hunt, Bird's Nest with Sprays of Apple Blossoms (detail), ca. 1847

Land Acknowledgement

Yale University and the Yale Center for British Art acknowledge that indigenous people and nations, including Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Niantic, and the Quinnipiac and other Algonquian speaking people, have stewarded through generations the lands and waterways of what is now the state of Connecticut. We honor and respect the enduring relationship that exists between these people and nations and this land.

Yale Center for British Art, photo © 2019 Revelateur Studio, Arnaud Marthouret