Thursday, May 23, 2024

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York



Rochester, NY, is a wonderful small city with some some very nice museums. The Strong Museum offers a history of toys and games. Eastman House provides an excellent showcase for photography and film. On a recent trip I visited the city’s primary art museum - The Memorial Art Gallery.

Statue of Venus Obliterated by Infinity Nets by Yayoi Kusama


The Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) is part of Rochester University, and has been home to art in the city since 1913. While it had no permanent home collection to start, over the years many prominent Rochester residents have left their collections to the MAG, and today there are over 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection. This collection makes up most of the exhibits at the MAG.

Portrait of a Young Man in an Armchair by Rembrandt. On display as part of an exhibit on forensic resotration


First, there is the European collection, which resides in the older section of the museum. Here you find some great pictures by masters throughout the past 500 years. Nearby are collections of works from ancient Greece and Egypt, along with indigenous art from the Americas, Africa and Oceana.

The Printseller's Window by Walter Goodman

The Doctor's Visit by Hendrik Heershop

Harem Scene by Daniel Israel

Still Life with Pipe by Georges Braque

Towing a Boat, Honfluer by Claude Monet

Waterloo Bridge by Claude Monet


Second was an exhibit titled Seeing America. This showcased some of the collection’s works by artists from the United States, many from the Rochester area.

Peeling Onions by Lilly Martin Spencer

Main Street Bridge by Colvin Campbell Cooper

View of the Pitkin House, East Ave. by Charles Wilson

Home Late by Mortimer Smith

Newbury Hayfield at Sunset by Martin Johnson Heade


Finally, there was The Power of the Portrait, drawing for MAG’s collection of portraits spanning the history of European and American art.

After Memling's Portrait of a Man with a Letter by Kahinde Wiley

Safi by Sarah Rutherford

The Gardiner by John Ahern and Rigoberto Torres

Interlude by John Koch


MAG was also hosting a special exhibit featuring one of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms. It is an enclosed room lined with mirrors and filled with reflective balls.


The art museums in small cities often offer very nice collections, in a size that can be enjoyed during a short visit. The Memorial Art Gallery is a great example, and worth a visit if you are in the area.

Unicorn Family by Kota Ezawa

Creation Myth by Tom Otterness


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