ABOUT: Guild Hall’s Permanent Collection
Guild Hall first opened to the public in the summer of 1931 as a gift of philanthropist Mrs. Lorenzo Woodhouse. This beloved institution provided East Hampton with an art gallery, a theater and meeting place — the cultural center in the center of culture. The East End of Long Island is a unique spot that has attracted many diversely talented artists who search for and find solace in the natural beauty of the landscape. At the time of Guild Hall’s opening, The New York Times noted that Howard Russell Butler’s portrait of Thomas Moran, on exhibit in the galleries, was not a loan, but an acquisition. “It marks the beginning of a permanent art collection which it proposed to build up in Guild Hall” the paper explained.
Guild Hall’s holdings have grown significantly in size and scope over past 90 years. In the early 1960’s the collection began to focus on the artists who have lived and worked in the region, highlighting the tradition of artists in residence on the East End dating back to the 1870’s. Works by early occupants such as Thomas Moran and Childe Hassam are among Guild Hall’s important acquisitions, as are some of the country’s most celebrated painters, sculptors and photographers, such as Fairfield Porter, Willem de Kooning and Mary Heilmann.
In 1973 the museum received the distinction of being accredited by the American Association of Museums. Today, the holdings of 19th, 20th and 21st century art number some 2400 objects which include paintings, sculpture, prints, watercolors, photographs and drawings by internationally renowned artists. The museum continues to acquire works by donation and acquisition.
The digitization of Guild Hall’s Permanent Collection has been made possible by a generous grant from The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation and The Gerry Charitable Trust. This project was headed by Jess Frost, former Associate Curator/Registrar of the Permanent Collection.
If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in Guild Hall’s collection, or an image of The Museum’s archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact a member of the curatorial staff listed below:
MELANIE CRADER x121
Director of Visual Arts
STEPHANIE MILLER x118
Museum Registrar and Exhibitions Coordinator