Designed by British architectural prodigy William Jay in the neoclassical Regency style, the Telfair Academy is a former mansion built from 1818-1819 for Alexander Telfair, son of Revolutionary War patriot and Georgia governor Edward Telfair.
In 1875, Alexander’s sister Mary – heir to the family fortune and last to bear the Telfair name – bequeathed the house and its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society to be opened as a museum. After significant renovation by German-born architect Detlef Lienau, whose adaptations included the addition of the Sculpture Gallery and the Rotunda, the building opened to the public in 1886 as the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Telfair Academy contains two nineteenth-century period rooms and houses nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European art from the museum’s permanent collection including paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts. Highlights include fine examples of American Impressionism and Ashcan School Realism, with major paintings by Childe Hassam, Frederick Frieseke, Gari Melchers, Robert Henri, George Bellows, and George Luks.