Beginning in the late 1970s, philanthropist Arthur Ross (1910–2007) avidly collected works of art by some of the most renowned printmakers of the last several centuries. The Arthur Ross Collection eventually came to comprise more than 1,200 17th- to 20th-century Italian, Spanish, and French prints of exceptional quality. Highlights include works by Francisco Goya, the first artist whom Ross collected; Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s views of 18th-century and ancient Rome, which reflect Ross’s love of classicism and the Eternal City; and Édouard Manet’s illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s masterpiece The Raven.
Meant to Be Shared: Selections from the Arthur Ross Collection of European Prints is the inaugural exhibition of this superlative group of works in its new home at the Yale University Art Gallery. Ross frequently lent to museums, especially those on academic campuses. In the spirit of the collector, Meant to Be Shared travels to two university museums in 2017 and 2018, and further exhibitions of selections from the collection are planned. Each of these exhibitions illustrates both the high aesthetic quality and historical value of the works Ross acquired, as well as the expansive and visionary nature of his generosity.