American Folk Art Museum


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The American Folk Art Museum is located at 45 West 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, in Midtown Manhattan (New York City, USA). The American Folk Art Museum is the leading center for the study and enjoyment of American folk art, as well as the work of international self-taught artists.
In anticipation of the completion of the new building for The American Folk Art Museum 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.
The American Folk Art 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. 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 The American Folk Art Museum 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 American Folk Art Museum argued against the notion that the creation of folk art was a thing of the past.