Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

American Art from Yale University Art Gallery

October 04, 2009 - January 10, 2010 - Jemison Galleries

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery offers an unprecedented opportunity to experience American history through more than 230 masterpieces from one of the finest and oldest collections of American art in the world. From the arrival of the first European settlers to the Gilded Age, this major exhibition tells America’s story through paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, furniture, silver, and ceramics from Yale University’s renowned collection.

At the heart of the exhibition is a group of early American portraits and history paintings by John Trumbull, including the original version of the iconic The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, which has graced the pages of nearly every American history textbook and the $2 bill.  This is the first time these paintings have traveled as a group since the artist presented them to Yale in 1832.

Among the exhibition’s painted treasures are two versions of Edward Hicks’s “Peaceable Kingdom;” rare portraits by John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, and Thomas Eakins; stunning landscapes by Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church; and captivating scenes of American life by Winslow Homer, Frederic Remington, and many others.  Decorative arts highlights include silver crafted by Paul Revere, the earliest pair of American silver candlesticks, a gold sword owned by 19th-century naval hero Stephen Decatur, and flamboyant silver objects made by Tiffany & Company.  Superb examples of 18th- and 19th-century furniture add to this rich survey of the history of American artistry and craftsmanship.

These treasures will never again travel as a group. Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate our nation’s heritage through 250 years of American masterpieces.