Terra Foundation for American Art



Founded in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its own art collection in Chicago. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, and educational programs.

Grant Program

The grant program offers support for American art exhibitions and academic programs worldwide. In addition, it supports public and school programs in Chicago. Since 2005, the foundation has provided nearly $50 million for more than 400 exhibitions and scholarly programs in over thirty countries, including France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, China, and Japan.

Art Collection

The Terra Foundation's collection of American art comprises more than 700 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures dating from the late eighteenth century through 1945 by such artists as John Singleton Copley, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley, and Edward Hopper. The foundation works to ensure its collection is accessible: it lends artworks to exhibitions worldwide; creates focused shows of its collection for public exhibition; and maintains a comprehensive database of the collection on its website.


The foundation collaborates with institutions worldwide to create new and exciting ways to connect people with American art. For example, long-term partnerships with the Musée du Louvre in Paris and The National Gallery in London have introduced American art to European audiences, as well as placed works of historical art from the United States in dialogue with two pre-eminent collections. Ongoing collaborations with these institutions will enable presentations of American art over the next several years. Additionally, a partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation rendered the first survey of historical American art to travel to Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, and Bilbao. A recent collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art brought historical American art to South Korea and Australia.

Paris Academic Center & Research Library

In 2009 the Terra Foundation opened its Paris Center, a resource that supports the foundation’s grant programs in Europe, fosters international connections, and provides access to resources on American art. The Paris Center offers monthly programs on current topics on the art and visual culture of the United States. It also houses the only research library in Europe devoted exclusively to historical American art, with approximately 9,500 titles covering subjects and artists up to 1980.

For further information on these and other Terra Foundation activities and opportunities for support, please visit www.terraamericanart.org.