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With 12,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and multi-media works, the 20th century American art collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art is a must for art fans of all ages. The museum opened its doors to the public in 1931 with only 700 pieces of art, many of which came from the personal collection of the museum's founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. It was developed to help provide the world with a comprehensive look at American art from the Revolutionary War era to today.
Many of the pieces in the Whitney collection were purchased by living artists who were still young and unknown in an effort to build up the collection. The curators of the museum still purchase art for the collection from the annual and biennial exhibitions held there launching the careers of many now well known artists. Other collectors have donated pieces to the museum since the museum was launched and since 1960 the museum has been the hope of one of the largest sculpture collections in America, most of the pieces having been created after World War II.