The Albright–Knox Art Gallery is an art museum located at 1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, New York in Delaware Park. The gallery is a major showplace for modern art and contemporary art. It is located directly across the street from Buffalo State College.
The parent organization of the Albright–Knox Art Gallery is the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, founded in 1862. It is one of the oldest public arts institutions in the United States. In 1890, Buffalo entrepreneur and philanthropist, John J. Albright, a wealthy Buffalo industrialist, began the construction of the Albright Art Gallery for the Academy. The building was designed by prominent local architect Edward Brodhead Green. It was originally intended to be used as the Fine Arts Pavilion for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, but delays in its construction caused it to remain uncompleted until 1905.
In 1962, a new addition was made to the gallery through the contributions of Seymour H. Knox, Jr. and his family, and many other donors. At this time the museum was renamed the Albright–Knox Art Gallery. The new building was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architect Gordon Bunshaft, who is noted for the Lever House in New York City.
The Albright–Knox Art Gallery has long operated not by collecting artists’ work in depth but by trying to acquire key works. The gallery's collection includes several pieces spanning art throughout the centuries. Impressionistic and Post-Impressionistic styles can be found in works by artists of the nineteenth century such as Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. Revolutionary styles from the early twentieth century such as cubism, surrealism, constructivism are represented in works by artists like Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Metzinger, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, and Alexander Rodchenko. Because of Seymour H. Knox and Gordon M. Smith, a former director, the Albright-Knox was one of the first museums to collect Abstract Expressionism in depth.
Deaccessioning and the Albright-Knox's mission
On June 7, 2007, a Roman era bronze sculpture of Artemis and the Stag sold at Sotheby's auction house in New York by the Albright–Knox Art Gallery brought $28.6 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for an antiquity or a sculpture of any period, according to Sotheby's. It was purchased by the London dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi on behalf of a private European collector. The event brought national attention to what had been a local question, the mission of the Albright-Knox, which was defined by the Albright-Knox director Louis Grachos in February 2007, at the time the list of works of art to be deaccessioned, as falling outside the institution's historical "core mission" of "acquiring and exhibiting art of the present".