From the Vault: Post-War to Contemporary Art

Peter Waite, "Bridge," 2006, Acrylic on panels, 96 x 120 in., Berkshire Taconic Foundation and Stephen B. Lawrence Fund, 2006.127
 Peter Waite, "Bridge," 2006, Acrylic on panels, 96 x 120 in., Berkshire Taconic Foundation and Stephen B. Lawrence Fund, 2006.127,


From the Vault: Post-War to Contemporary Art

Following World War II, American artists began to challenge traditional modes of pictorial representation by embracing new styles, techniques, and mediums, and by questioning the role of art in society. Nearly a century later, American creativity continues to encompass diverse artistic approaches while addressing social, political, and environmental issues of our time.

Spanning the 1940s to the 2000s, From the Vault is the largest display of permanent collection masterworks of the Post-War era ever staged at the Museum, and comprises beloved highlights, recent gifts and acquisitions, and numerous works on view for the first time. Presented chronologically, the exhibition traces key art historical movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Photorealism, and Contemporary Art. Collectively, works by leading figures in American art, including Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Kay Sage, Anni and Josef Albers, Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Titus Kaphar, among others, reflect the incredible evolution of American artistic expression over the last 80 years.


Featured Artists

Negar Ahkami

Eric Aho+#*

Anni Albers

Josef Albers

Radcliffe Bailey

John Anthony Baldessari   

David Bates#

Paul Baylock*

William Baziotes

Roberto Bernardi

Aaron Bohrod

Power Boothe+*

Giorgio Cavallon

George Chaplin#

Kay Knight Clarke+*  

Cynthia Cooper#*

Cathleen Daley#

Stephen DeStaebler#

Jim Dine+

Joe Fig+*

Nobu Fukui#

Christopher Gallego#

Adolph Gottlieb

Cleve Gray

Zbigniew Grzyb+*

Irene Hardwicke Olivier   

John Edward Heliker

Titus Kaphar

Deborah Kass+

Martin Kline+#*

Fay Ku

K. William LeQuier III#   

Sol LeWitt

Hung Liu

Michael Mahalchick#

Joseph McNamara*

Dina Melicov+

Robert Motherwell  

Elizabeth Murray

Barry Nelles+

Louise Nevelson

Isamu Noguchi

Doug Ohlson+

Lillian Orlowsky

Graydon Parrish#

Paul Perras+

Richard Pousette-Dart

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith+

John Rappleye#

Abraham Rattner

John Raye+*

Lance Richbourg#

Stone Roberts

Kay Sage

Jimmy Sanders#

Sean Scully

Cary Smith+*

George Soppelsa+*

Nancy Spero

Theodoros Stamos

Pat Steir

Frank Stella

Drew Tal#

Lois Tarlow

George Tooker#

Gabi Trinkaus

Peter Waite*

Andy Warhol


+ From the Vault includes a work by this artist that has never been on view at the NBMAA

# From the Vault includes a work by this artist that has not been on view at the NBMAA in nearly decade or longer

* Local Artist


Look Inside Our Vault. Search Inside Yourself.

Starting soon!

During the final months of special exhibition From the Vault: Post-War to Contemporary Art, we invite you to find a work of art that helps you look within yourself for a special memory, a reaction, or a deep feeling. Please write it down on the paper provided in the gallery and deposit it into the archive box to be preserved at the Museum in the future! Feel free to include your name or stay anonymous. Thank you for engaging with this exciting exhibition.


Related Programming

Walk-In Tours | Special Exhibition - "From the Vault"
Sundays at 1 p.m. | Tours resume on October 1, 2023


Featured Press

New Britain art: American post-war history offers controversy, creative brilliance
By Tracey O'Shaughnessy, Republican-American, June 10, 2023