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Exhibition of Contemporary Art

Thursday, January 5, 1939Tuesday, January 31, 1939

Installation view of Exhibition of Contemporary Art, 1939. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. Photograph by Jay W. Baxtresser.

The first exhibition of contemporary art in the Room of Contemporary Art featured a collection of paintings, watercolors, gouaches, and small sculptures by 41 artists assembled through the cooperation of institutional and private lenders.

About the Room of Contemporary Art

Established in 1939, the Room of Contemporary Art was envisioned as a both a physical site devoted solely to the continuously rotating presentation of new art within the museum and a means to reinvigorate and reaffirm the museum’s dedication to collecting the art of its time.

It was managed by a special independent committee initially consisting of Buffalo attorney Philip J. Wickser (who helped to conceive the room and who drafted its charter), Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Albright Art Gallery Director Gordon B. Washburn, and artists Charles E. Burchfield and Anna Glenny Dunbar, both of whom called Buffalo home. Through the Room of Contemporary Art fund, the museum acquired Fernand Léger's La fume (Smoke), 1912; Joan Miró's Carnaval d'Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin), 1924–25; and Henri Matisse's La Musique (Music), 1939, among many others.