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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 20-A The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1992)

20-A The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1992)

Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy was founded in 1862 and after meeting in various locations during the first few years, the Academy had a welcome home and gallery in the new Buffalo Public Library on Lafayette Square in 1887.

In 1900, industrialist and patron of the arts John J. Albright, a past president of the Academy (1895-1897), announced a generous donation of funds for the erection of a building to be the permanent home of the Academy and its fast-growing collection of art. The Classical Revival style was chosen by Buffalo architect Edward B. Green and the original plans called for the building to be completed by the opening of the Pan-American Exposition in 1901 as the Fine Arts Pavilion. However various vicissitudes delayed the opening until 1905. In 1910, the Academy board appointed Cornelia Bentley Sage as second director and the first woman in the United States to assume the directorship of a major art gallery and it was she who introduced electric lights to illuminate the gallery's art exhibits.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery is known throughout the world for its collection of 19th and 20th century paintings and sculpture and includes ancient Oriental pieces as well. Besides annual exhibits of works of art from other galleries, it encourages artists in the local area to exhibit their works and special exhibits, lectures and loan services occur throughout the year. The watercolor series of which this painting is a part, Buffalo My City, was introduced to the public in just such a special exhibit at the gallery in the spring of 1992 and the artist, Dr. V. Roger Lalli and his process of "photo realism", are now part of Buffalo's artistic heritage.

The view depicted here, facing east and overlooking Olmsted's recently restored Delaware Park (Hoyt Lake), also introduces us to the splendid twin caryatid porches of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, inspired by the weight-bearing statues of the Acropolis in Greece. Although part of the original plans for the building, these porches were not added until 1927 because of a lack of funds, and even then, the porch bases were wooden and plaster stand-ins were utilized. Finally in 1933 the caryatids themselves were installed.

In 1961, a modern glass addition, designed by Buffalo-born Gordon Bunshaft, was commenced on the south side of the gallery through the generosity of another patron of the arts, Seymour H. Knox, Jr., and the current name of the gallery honors his deep commitment to the continuation of the spirit of John J. Albright in maintaining this "jewel of the arts."