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Spotlight: Modernism

Inspired by the radical innovations of late 19th-century painters and sculptors, 20th-century modernists pushed art to new frontiers of expression and abstraction, rewriting the rules about what constituted art and how its materials could be used.

Founded in 1941 with a collection of old masters, the Gallery engaged modern art beginning in 1962, when Chester Dale’s bequest brought the museum not only a world-class collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art but also its first paintings by Georges Braque, André Derain, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Pablo Picasso. Given that Picasso and Braque were still alive at the time, the Gallery had to change its policy regarding the acquisition of work by living artists. A new era had begun.