The American Folk Art Museum is a museum devoted to American folk art, as well as the work of international self-taught artists. It is located at 2 Lincoln Square, Columbus Avenue at 66th Street, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. From 2001 to 2011, the museum’s main branch was located at 45 West 53rd Street. Due to debt from its 2001 building campaign coupled with investment losses in 2009.
The museum sold its main branch to the nearby Museum Of Modern Art. The institution considered, among other options, transferring its collection to the Smithsonian Institution. Ultimately, the American Folk Art Museum was able to move to its current location at 2 Lincoln Square. The museum pays $1/year for its 5,000-square-foot (460 sq m) Lincoln Square space, one-sixth the size of its former location.
Artworks and Exhibitions:
The museum began to build a collection almost immediately after it was established. The now iconic Flag Gate (c. 1876) was its initial accession, in 1962, followed, a year later, by the Archangel Gabriel Weathervane (c. 1840) and the monumental St. Tammany Weathervane (c. 1890), now a centerpiece in the museum. The Purchase, in 1979, of the famous Bird of Paradise Quilt Top (1858–1863) represented a turning point: The art of quiltmaking would become a major emphasis in the collection and public programs of the institution. The museum's collection of quilts and other textiles are some of the most popular attractions. Throughout the 1980s, the permanent collection continued to grow with major acquisitions of early American folk art, including Ammi Phillips’s masterpiece, Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog (1830–1835).
Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, the institution was recognized for its lively exhibitions, many of which were pioneering in scope, including the wide-ranging and influential "Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists" in 1970, which explicitly took a broader view of the field than that originally articulated by the organization's founders. In this and other exhibitions, the museum argued against the notion that the creation of folk art was a thing of the past.
In anticipation of the completion of the new building in 2001, more than four hundred important works of early American folk art from the renowned collection of Ralph O. Esmerian were promised to the museum. These included a comprehensive collection of Pennsylvania German material, Shaker gift drawings, needlework samplers, and paintings by artists such as Edward Hicks and Sheldon Peck.