Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the museum's namesake and founder, was a well-regarded sculptor and serious art collector. The Whitney Museum of American Art – known informally as the "Whitney" – is an art museum located in Manhattan. It was founded in 1931 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, The Whitney focuses on 20th- and 21st-century American art. It places a particular emphasis on exhibiting the work of living artists for its collection as well as maintaining an extensive permanent collection containing many important pieces from the first half of the last century. The museum's Annual and Biennial exhibitions have long been a venue for younger and less well-known artists whose work is showcased there. Every two years, the museum hosts the Whitney Biennial, an international art show which displays many lesser-known artists new to the American art scene.
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Emily Mae Smith