Making American Artists: Stories from PAFA, 1776–1976
Prior Reinhardt, Curatorial Administration Support
With over one hundred of the most acclaimed and iconic pieces in American art on display, Making American Artists: Stories from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1776–1976 takes you on a journey across time, medium, and identity.
The exhibition offers new narratives in American art history, embracing stories about women artists, LGBTQIA+ artists, and artists of color. It also poses central questions about the artist’s experience: what did it mean to be an American artist when the nation was founded? How had that changed by the late-twentieth century?
Organized by theme—portraiture, history painting, still life, genre scenes, and landscape—and not chronology, the exhibition affords the opportunity to enjoy familiar works in a new light and find new favorites.
Each of the featured artists’ careers were shaped by PAFA, whether through their education or the exhibition and display of their work. Making American Artists critically re-examines PAFA’s legacy while shedding light on its continuing role in shaping American art of the twenty-first century.
Making American Artists is also your final chance to see these beloved works before they temporarily leave PAFA on a national exhibition tour, organized by the American Federation of Arts, from June 2023–May 2025. Discover more >> American Federation of Arts.
Making American Artists features a robust schedule of public programs, including performances in partnership with World Cafe Live, gallery tours included with price of museum admission, and more:
|Messages and Desires: Evocative Still Live||Art on Broad||
Saturday, March 4, 2023; 11 AM
MULTITUDES: Music and Poetry Inspired by Making American Artists (off-site)
|At World Cafe Live||
Wednesday, March 8; doors 6 PM, show 8 PM
|Art on Broad||Saturday, March 11, 2023; 11 AM|
|MULTITUDES: Music and poetry inspired by Making American Artists, in partnership with World Cafe Live||Museum After Hours||Saturday, March 18, 2023; doors 7 PM, show 8 PM|
|Whose Stories Are Told in American Art?||Art History Series, online||
|The Portrait of Hanadagá•yas; or, George Washington Reconsidered||Art at Noon, free and online|
|Still and Solemn Power: Contemplating Landscapes||Museum After Hours||January 27, 2023; 6 PM|
|MULTITUDES: Music and poetry inspired by Making American Artists, in partnership with World Cafe Live||Museum After Hours||February 4 and 16; March 8 and 18, 2023|
|Art on Broad: Saturdays are for Art Lovers!||Gallery Events||Every Saturday, February 11-March 11, 2023; 11 AM|
|Art of Edward L. Loper Sr: On the Path of the Masters||Art at Noon, free and online||February 22, 2023; 12 PM|
Discover a full list of confirmed events here>>
Making American Artists: Stories from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1776–1976 is made possible thanks to the following generous supporters and donors to PAFA’s Special Exhibitions Fund.
Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation.
Major support is provided by the Richard C. von Hess Foundation. Generous support is provided by Julie Jensen Bryan and Robert Bryan. Additional support is provided by Linda Seyda and Robert Boris.
In-Kind support is provided by Christie’s and Gill & Lagodich Fine Period Frames, New York.
Donor lists as of September 15, 2022.