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National Gallery of Art announces Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700–1830

The National Gallery of Art in Washingtom presents a New Installation of Early American Furniture and Decorative Arts from the Kaufman Collection to be Unveiled October 7, 2012.

When this installation opens on October 7, 2012, on the Ground Floor of the West Building, it will be a landmark moment for the nation’s capital, which until this time has had no major presentation of early American furniture and related decorative arts on continual public view. The installation follows the promised gift in October 2010 of one of the largest and most refined collections of early American furniture in private hands, acquired with great connoisseurship over five decades by George M. (1932–2001) and Linda H. Kaufman (b. 1938).

John and/or Hugh Finlay Grecian Couch, 1810-1840 walnut, cherry; white pine, poplar, cherry National Gallery of Art, Washington, Promised Gift of George M. and Linda H. Kaufman

The Kaufman Collection comprises more than 200 works of art, including American furniture, major Dutch paintings, American paintings, and works on paper, among them some 40 floral watercolors by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840). Many of these objects were featured in 1986–1987 when the Gallery first exhibited American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection. The upcoming installation will highlight more than 100 of the finest examples of early American furniture and decorative arts, shown with a selection of American, European, and Chinese porcelains and a number of choice Redouté watercolors—all from the Kaufman Collection. Paintings by American artists from the Gallery’s collection will also be integrated into the presentation.

Natives of Norfolk, Virginia, the Kaufmans began collecting when they married in the late 1950s, acquiring a few early pieces of furniture for their apartment in Charlottesville. Influenced by Linda’s parents, Elise and Henry Clay Hofheimer II, who collected art and antiques, the young couple recognized the aesthetic as well as the enduring quality and historic importance of fine American furniture. They shaped their passion for the finest productions of artisans working in the major colonial and post-revolutionary urban centers through visits to the impressive collections of Winterthur Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Yale University’s Garvan Collection. Their collection includes numerous examples of the most creative and costly furniture available in 18th- and early 19th-century America. The original owners as well as the makers of many of these objects are known.

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (202) 842-6176, or visit the Gallery’s Web site at

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