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January 7, 2013

Coming Attraction: PAFA To Build A New “Works On Paper” Gallery Inside Its Frank Furness-Designed Historic Landmark Building

PAFA's historic Frank Furness-designed Historic Landmark Building has, because of its glorious skylights, precluded the exhibition of the single largest group of works in the PAFA collection, light sensitive works on paper. No longer. Now, thanks to the generosity of the von Hess Foundation, PAFA will have an intimate gallery dedicated to changing exhibitions of works on paper. (Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC)

Today in design news: the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has announced that, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation, the institution is planning to build a brand new Works on Paper Gallery in the Furness-designed Historic Landmark Building on the Avenue of the Arts.

More than 9,500 of the artworks in PAFA’s permanent collection (over 75% the total collection) are works on paper, so this new gallery will significantly expand public access to the vast trove of PAFA’s collection, while affording the necessary environment for the safe display of these light-sensitive works.

The gallery, which will house changing exhibitions of works on paper, will be accessed through a doorway at the first landing of the Grand Stairhall.

The space will include an area where scholars will be able to view works for research purposes, and where curators and faculty will be able to teach from this remarkable collection.

But what, exactly, are “works on paper”? Think drawings, watercolors sketchbooks, and prints in traditional and experimental media from all periods in American art, as well as photographs, including a valuable collection of Thomas Eakins photography.

Construction will begin in spring 2013, and completion is anticipated by summer 2013.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Broad and Cherry Streets
www.pafa.org

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