Food for the Soul: Stories of Women at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Frederic Leighton. Portrait of a Roman Lady (La Nanna), 1859. Oil on canvas. Purchased with the Henry Clifford Memorial Fund, 1976, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. Photo: Philadelphia Museum of Art

By Nina Heyn

Philadelphia’s main art museum was established in 1876 as part of the centennial celebration of the Declaration of Independence. Since then, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (we’ll call it PMA for short) has been expanding its catalog to its current grand total of almost a quarter of a million objects, purchasing and inheriting numerous collections of armory and furniture, textiles and costumes, sculptures and pottery, and prints and antiquities. Part of the museum has recently undergone a remodeling by Frank Gehry, the master of contemporary architecture, who introduced modernity with light wood paneling, reestablished long passages, and a graceful staircase.

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