Albright Art Gallery
199 Lincoln Parkway
alternate name: Albright Knox Art Gallery
architect: Green and Wicks
years built: 1905
The academic reaction of the nineties which continued into the twentieth century perhaps made its most impressive contribution in public edifices such as museum. Long associated with repositories of the arts, pedimented porticos were an intelligible if expensive symbol.
Unfortunately administrative offices were forced below ground, because it was not yet evident at the opening of the century what active educational institutions museums were soon to become.
It seemed more important to provide “”architecture”” as a sort of abstract ornament set in park scenery than a practical building for a set of clearly defined educational activities.
The Buffalo Gallery and Green’s other art museum in Toledo are generally considered the best in this manner. Rarely have Greek columns in modern times appeared more graceful than in the colonnade surrounding the auditorium. Few such edifices have had exterior sculpture by such a great artist as St. Gaudens who did the caryatids at either end of the east façade. Marble is cold in our climate but it encourages elegance in detail. Compared to most of the monumental edifices of the academic reaction, the exteriors of this building have a real refinement and an austerity appropriate to a certain early twentieth century ideal of art.