The Yale University Art Gallery collection of Pre-Columbian art, though relatively small, is surprisingly distinguished. Like many university collections, it consists of treasures and rarities as well as study materials. A sizeable portion of the collection came to Yale over the years as the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Olsen and their foundation. A large group of objects was also acquired by purchase in 1973.
For more than a decade Professor George Kubler, one of the most highly regarded scholars in the field of Spanish and Pre-Columbian art, has offered seminars in which both graduate and undergraduate students at Yale have been assigned to study the museum’s holdings and to identify and interpret the objects. This handbook, with commentaries on the most important works of art is a checklist of the entire collection, and the first comprehensive publication of the Art Gallery’s Mesoamerican holdings in Pre-Columbian art. We are all grateful to Professor Kubler for undertaking this project and for overseeing the research of many young colleagues.
Many of the costs incurred in preparing this catalogue, including new photography, were met by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which has, in recent years, generously supported research on museum collections. Production of this volume was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency which has provided essential support to American art museums for over twenty years. The federal monies were matched by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Frederick R. Mayer. Sue Allen is responsible for the handsome design of this volume and the Yale University Printing Service for overseeing its production.
The Henry J. Heinz II Director