Virginia Museum of Fine Arts scores big Luce Foundation grant

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a $200,000 grant to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for reinstalling and reinterpreting its collection of historical American art – from painting, sculpture and works on paper to the decorative arts of furniture, silver, glass and ceramics.

VMFA is in the midst of a massive expansion project that will add more than 165,000 square feet of space to the existing 320,000-square-foot museum. The expansion, expected to be completed in late 2009, will increase the museum’s gallery space by 50 percent and will cost $130 million.

Brideship (Colonial Brides),
“Brideship (Colonial Brides),” circa 1927-1928, by Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975)

“This pending transformation offers us an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the overall shape, display and interpretation of the museum’s holdings,” says Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s director.

The largest amount of the permanent-collection gallery space in the new wing – approximately 11,200 square feet – will be devoted to the exhibition of VMFA’s current American collection, more than doubling its previous footprint.

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