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The Cultural Alliance

The Butler Institute of American Art

Butler Institute of American Art

In the early 1900s, Joseph G. Butler, Jr. had a vision for an institution devoted to curating and preserving the art his young America would produce: the first American Art Museum. From this vision, The Butler Institute was born. To showcase the art, he knew would eventually become some of the greatest in the world, Joseph Butler commissioned McKim, Mead & White to create an architectural masterpiece. MM&W were known for creating other great structures such as the Savoy Hotel and Madison Square Gardens in New York, NY. Thus, the original Butler structure, was officially dedicated in 1919. This inspirational building—crafted in the Italianate style iconic in many of the buildings throughout Washington DC—has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, as it was in the beginning, The Butler’s mission is to collect and preserve works of art in all media created by citizens of our country. The Institute’s holdings now exceed 22,000 individual works, from thousands of American artists, starting from its earliest work, “Portrait of Katherine Ten Broeck” by Nehemiah Partridge dated 1719.

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