In the early 1950s Harris K. Prior, the Museum of Art Director, and Edward Root, Consultant in Art, developed for the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Museum of Art a small, distinguished collection of paintings and sculptures that were created by pioneers of major 20th-century artistic movements, such as Cubism, Futurism, and Surrealism.

The Museum was founded as a collection of art from the United States, but Prior and Root believed that assembling a group of modern European art would be beneficial to demonstrate the influence of Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and other Europeans on American artists.

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New York State Council on the Arts with the support of
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.