YCBA 2021–2022

Director’s Message

Photo of smiling woman in black dress

Photo by Mara Lavitt

Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director

Dear Friends:

As I reflect on my third year as Paul Mellon Director of the Yale Center for British Art, I see a time marked by transition, renewed activity, and the anticipation of brighter, busier days ahead.

By the end of the summer, all YCBA staff returned to work on-site, an essential factor in our ability to fulfill our mission as a public art museum. Through the commitment, creativity, and good humor of my colleagues, we continued to connect with our public while adapting to our new normal.

Together, we welcomed 29,176 visitors to the museum during the 163 days that we were open; presented four exhibitions; produced two publications, including our first born-digital catalogue; added 262 objects to our collection; presented conversations, films, lectures, symposia, and tours; and shared our resources with families, students, scholars, and visitors from all over the world.

With public hours still reduced through the fall and winter, we found new ways to expand access to the museum. A display of the museum’s original furniture was installed in the museum’s externally viewable Lower Court, allowing visitors to engage with the YCBA’s history and mid-century design even while the building was closed. For the first time, art was exhibited on the museum’s exterior walls, with the work of twelve local student-photographers projected through the High Street windows.

Spring heralded the long-awaited return to our regular, pre-pandemic museum hours, as well as the resumption of in-person programming. In March, we presented our first major exhibition in two years, a survey of works by Bridget Riley that was displayed on two floors of the museum and featured more than fifty objects selected in collaboration with the artist. Soon after the show opened, I had the privilege of visiting Riley in London and interviewing her for a short film now featured on our website. Later in the spring we welcomed Marc Quinn to the museum for the installation and opening of a focused exhibition that juxtaposed his contemporary “History Paintings” with our historic collection.

Our new program series “Architects in Conversation: To Build for Art” launched in March with Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA, as the inaugural speaker in conversation with Deborah Berke, FAIA, LEED AP, dean of the Yale School of Architecture. The event was especially celebratory because it was the first program held in the Lecture Hall since 2019.

At the same time, we continued to offer a wealth of online programs, allowing us to remain engaged with the broader audience we built during our days at home. As part of our ongoing “Artists in Conversation” series, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sonia Boyce OBE RA and Simone Leigh not long before the 59th Venice Biennale opened in April 2022. I was thrilled, although not surprised, when their respective commissions for the British and American pavilions were awarded Golden Lion prizes.

Together with our colleagues at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Studies in London, we presented the first online iteration of the Paul Mellon lecture series. Featuring talks from six of the world’s most distinguished museum and gallery directors, the online series connected speakers from three continents with an audience that truly spanned the globe.

The activities, initiatives, and programs recounted in this report reveal the many ways in which the museum engages our public, whether locally in New Haven or from afar. I am grateful to the organizations and individuals whose support makes these efforts possible.

—Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director, Yale Center for British Art

By the Numbers

This report reflects activities between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

  • 163days open to the public

  • 29,176in-person visitors to the museum

  • 493visitors to the Study Room

  • 55online lectures, programs, and screenings

  • 6,500attendees of online programs and lectures

  • 78countries from which people attended online programs

  • 40objects loaned to other museums

  • 262objects added to collection

  • 1,251collection records added to online database



Each year the museum adds to its collections of drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, rare books and manuscripts, and sculpture through gifts and purchases. Below are highlights from the year ending June 30, 2022.

  • Engraving of landscape with large house and palm tree

    John Byrne, A View of Hall-head Sugar Plantation, Jamaica (detail), 1816, gift of James Langhorne

  • Evening image of city on the water

    Elizabeth Keith, Hong Kong, Harbor Night (detail), 1924, gift of the Ogden children in honor of their mother, Ruth Simpson Woodcock. © Estate of the artist

  • Painted portrait of woman in blue dress

    Circle of Guan Qiaochang Lam Qua, Portrait of a Woman (detail), ca. 1850, Paul Mellon Fund

  • Painting of man in formal clothing

    Robert Peake the Elder, Portrait of Anthony Maria Browne, 2nd Viscount Montagu (detail), ca. 1590, Paul Mellon Fund

  • Botanical drawing

    Artist once known, Indian, Breadfruit Plant (Artocarpus altilis) (detail), ca. 1800, Paul Mellon Fund

  • Watercolor of rocky landscape

    Tony Foster, Camp 1 (detail) from the series Heraclitus II: 7 Days on the Colorado, 2017, gift of the artist through the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation. © The artist

  • Painting of large house

    Richard Whately West, The Perivale Road (detail), ca. 1885, gift from the estate of Christopher P. Monkhouse

  • Abstract landscape painting

    Alberto Morrocco, Landscape at Abruzzi, 1976, gift of Joanna W. and Robert A. Martin, Class of 1954. © Estate of Alberto Morrocco. All rights reserved 2023

  • John Milne, Untitled, 1971, gift of Joanna W. and Robert A. Martin, Class of 1954. © Estate of the artist



The museum continued to offer a rich selection of online programs, including artist conversations, film screenings, and symposia. More than six thousand viewers from seventy-eight countries joined YCBA programs remotely. Three programs were presented both in person and online.

  • Photo of woman at desk

    Sonia Boyce OBE RA (pictured) and Simone Leigh spoke with Courtney J. Martin (Yale PhD 2009), Paul Mellon Director. Photo by Sarah Weal

  • Photo of woman at desk

    Helen Cammock spoke with Hazel Carby, Charles C. & Dorothea S. Dilley Professor Emeritus of African American Studies, Yale University. Photo by Sebastiano Luciano

  • Photo of man in painting studio

    Peter Doig spoke with Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, modern and contemporary art, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Rain Riyahi

  • Close-up of woman’s face

    Tracey Emin spoke with Martina Droth, Deputy Director and Chief Curator. Self-portrait by Tracey Emin

  • Woman against bright background

    Thelma Golden, director and chief curator, Studio Museum in Harlem, gave the Paul Mellon Lecture “Creating Space: The Studio Museum, Past and Present.”  Photo by Julie Skarratt

  • Woman standing in field

    Katharine Hamnett CBE, fashion designer, spoke with Christine Checinska, curator of African and African diaspora fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum. Photo by Michael Dunlea

  • Woman holding scissors in front of face

    Jann Haworth spoke with Jo Applin, head of the History of Art department at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Photo by Alex Johnstone

  • Photo of man facing camera

    Titus Kaphar (Yale MFA 2006), artist and cofounder of NXTHVN, spoke with art collectors Arthur Lewis and Hau Nguyen. Moderated by Abigail Lamphier, Senior Curatorial Assistant, Department of Paintings and Sculpture. Photo by Merik Goma

  • Photo of man in white t-shirt

    Prem Sahib spoke with Alexis Lowry, curator, Dia Art Foundation. Photo by Henry Mills

Staff, Students, Volunteers


Our dedicated staff brought creativity, commitment, and expertise to their work at the museum this year, for which we are truly grateful. In addition, the YCBA deeply appreciates the students and volunteers who enrich the museum in numerous ways.