Exhibition

The Yale University Art Gallery is proud to present Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, from August 19, 2016, through January 8, 2017. This groundbreaking exhibition presents the most comprehensive survey of Rhode Island furniture ever assembled, including not only iconic, stylish pieces from important centers of production like Providence and Newport but also simpler examples made in smaller towns that have heretofore received little scholarly attention. The exhibition draws on more than a decade of research executed for the Rhode Island Furniture Archive, which has yielded exciting new discoveries. Art and Industry in Early America also addresses the surprisingly broad reach of Rhode Island’s furniture production, from the boom of the export trade at the turn of the 17th century and its steady growth throughout the 18th century to the gradual decline of the handcraft tradition in the 19th century. Featured in the exhibition are elaborately carved chairs, high chests, bureau tables, and clocks—more than 130 exceptional objects from museums, historical societies, and private collections. Reflecting on one of New England’s most important artistic traditions, Art and Industry in Early America encourages a newfound appreciation for this dynamic school of American furniture making.

For more information on the exhibition, visit the Gallery’s website at artgallery.yale.edu/artandindustry.

Exhibition organized by Patricia E. Kane, the Friends of American Arts at Yale Curator of American Decorative Arts. Made possible by generous support from an anonymous donor; Lulu C. and Anthony W. Wang, B.A. 1965; Jeanie Kilroy Wilson; Jane P. Watkins, M.P.H. 1979, and Helen D. Buchanan; and the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support provided by Jerald Dillon Fessenden, B.A. 1960; Judith and John Herdeg; Sarah Jeffords Radcliffe; Gayle and Howard Rothman; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Wunsch Americana Foundation; and the David and Rosalee McCullough Fund.