The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas. In 1984, the museum moved from its previous location in Fair Park to the Arts District, Dallas, Texas. The new building was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, the 2007 winner of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. The Dallas Museum of Art collection is made up of more than 28,000 objects, dating from the third millennium BC to the present day. The museum’s library contains over 50,000 volumes available to curators and the general public. The Dallas Museum of Art’s history began with the establishment in 1903 of the Dallas Art Association, which initially exhibited paintings in the Dallas Public Library. The Museum’s collections started growing from that moment on, and it soon became necessary to find a permanent home. The museum, renamed the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1932, relocated to a new art deco facility within Fair Park in 1936, on the occasion of the Texas Centennial Exposition. This new facility was designed by a consortium of Dallas architects in consultation with Paul Cret of Philadelphia. In 1943 Jerry Bywaters became the director of the DMFA and under his tenure, impressionist, abstract, and contemporary masterpieces were acquired and the Texas identity of the museum was emphasized. In 1963 the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts merged with the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art. The permanent collections of the two museums were then housed within the DMFA facility, which suddenly held significant works by Paul Gauguin, Odilon Redon, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Gerald Murphy, and Francis Bacon. By the late 1970s, the greatly enlarged permanent collection and the ambitious exhibition program fostered a need for a new museum facility. The museum moved once again, to its current venue, at the northern edge of the city’s business district (the now designated Dallas Arts District). The $54 million dollar facility, designed by New York architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, gave the museum a new 370,000-square-foot facility when it opened in January 1984 (the museum’s Sculpture Garden opened a year before in October 1983). At the same time the name was changed to the Dallas Museum of Art. In 1985 the new decorative arts wing, built to house 1,400 objects from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, opened. In 1991, construction began on the addition of the Nancy and Jake L. Hamon Building, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes. When this opened in 1993 the museum gained an extra 140,000 square feet. In 2003, the Dallas Museum of Art marked its 100th birthday on January 19, and celebrated by remaining open for 100 continuous hours with 45,000 visitors in attendance. The museum collects, preserves, presents, and interprets works of art of the highest quality from diverse cultures and many centuries, including contemporary. As well as its galleries and library, the Dallas Museum of Art contains a café, museum shop and a unique 12,000-square-foot learning environment, the Center for Creative Connections. Visit the museum’s website at … www.dallasmuseumofart.org
The Dallas Museum of Art’s collections include more than 24,000 works of art from around the world ranging from ancient to modern times. The collection of ancient Mediterranean art includes Cycladic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Apulian objects. The museum’s collections of South Asian art range from Gandharan Buddhist art of the 2nd to 4th centuries AD to the arts of the Mughal Empire in India from the 15th to the 19th century. Highlights include a 12th century bronze Shiva Nataraja and a 10th century sandstone representation of the god Vishnu as the boar-headed Varaha. Objects in the museum’s highly regarded African collection come from West and Central Africa.The objects date primarily from the 16th to the 20th centuries, although the earliest object is a Nok terracotta bust from Nigeria that dates from somewhere between 200 BC to 200 AD. The museum’s significant collection of European art starts in the 16th century. Some of the earlier works include paintings by Giulio Cesare Procaccini (“Ecce Homo”), Pietro Paolini (“Bacchic Concert”), and Nicolas Mignard (“The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus & Remus to His Wife”). Art of the 18th century is represented by artists like Canaletto (“A View from the Fondamenta Nuova”), Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre (“The Abduction of Europa”), and Claude-Joseph Vernet (“Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm”). The 19th and 20th century collection of European art also stands out. Among significant works in this collection are “Fox in the Snow” by Gustave Courbet, ”The Seine at Lavacourt” by Claude Monet, “I Raro te Oviri” by Paul Gauguin, ”Beginning of the World” by Constantin Brâncuşi, “Interior”, and “Les Marroniers ou le Vitrail” by Edouard Vuillard. The collection of works by Piet Mondrian is also particularly noteworthy (with works like “The Windmill”, “Self-Portrait”, and “Place de la Concorde”). In 1985 the Dallas Museum of Art received a one-of-a-kind gift from Wendy Reves in honor of her late husband, Emery Reves. The Reves collection is housed in an elaborate 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m²) reproduction of the couple’ home in France, Villa La Pausa (originally created for Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel), where the works were originally displayed. Among the 1,400 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper Emery Reves had collected are works from leading impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modernist artists, including Paul Cézanne, Honoré Daumier, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Vincent van Gogh. Another part of the Reves wing is devoted to decorative arts and includes Chinese export porcelain, European furniture, Oriental and European carpets, iron, bronze, and silver work, antique European glass, and rare books.
The Dallas Museum of Art has significant holdings of ancient American art. The collection covers more than three millennia, displaying sculptures, prints, terracotta, and gold objects. Works in the ancient American collection span 3,000 years and represent twelve countries. Highlights include ceramics from the southwestern United States, ceramics and stone sculpture from Mexico and Guatemala, gold from Panama, Colombia, and Peru, textiles and ceramics from Peru and the Head of the god Tlaloc (Mexico, 14th-16th century). The American art collection includes paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the United States, Mexico, and Canada from the colonial period to World War II. Among the highlights of the collection are “Duck Island” by Childe Hassam, “Lighthouse Hill” by Edward Hopper, “That Gentleman” by Andrew Wyeth, “Bare Tree Trunks with Snow” by Georgia O’Keeffe and “Razor” and “Watch” by Gerald Murphy. One of the most beautiful pieces in the collection is “The Icebergs” by Frederic Edwin Church. This painting had long been referred to as a lost masterpiece. The painting was given to the museum in 1979 by Norma and Lamar Hunt. The Dallas Museum of Art also has one of the most thorough collections of Texas art. This is in great part thanks to Jerry Bywaters, director of the DMA from to 1943 to 1964, who was also one of the Dallas Nine, an influential group of Texas artists. In addition to paintings by Bywaters, the DMA has great works by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, Julian Onderdonk, Alexandre Hogue, David Bates, Dorothy Austin, Michael Owen, and Olin Herman Travis. The Museum’s growing collections are the foundation for a broad range of special exhibitions organized by the DMA — from nationally traveling shows such as Thomas Struth and Henry Moore: Sculpting the 20th Century to focused exhibitions such as the recent Dialogues: Duchamp, Cornell, Johns, Rauschenberg and the upcoming Van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat.
From its establishment in 1903 as the Dallas Art Association, one of the Museum’s missions was to collect and exhibit the work of living artists. However, it was only with the 1950 acquisition of Jackson Pollock’s “Cathedral” that the collection really started. Every important artistic trend since 1945 is represented in the Dallas Museum of Art’s vast collection of contemporary art, from abstract expressionism to pop and op Art, and from minimalism, and conceptualism to installation art, assemblage, and video art. The collection is now the largest in the world outside of specialist modern and contemporary art museums. Contemporary artists within the collection whose reputations are well established include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Smithson. Among photographers represented in the collection are Cindy Sherman, Nic Nicosia, Thomas Struth, and Lynn Davis. When the current Museum facility opened in the mid-1980s, several artists were commissioned to create site-specific works especially for the Dallas Museum of Art: Ellsworth Kelly, Sol Lewitt, Richard Fleischner, and Claes Oldenburg with Coosje van Bruggen. In recent years, the museum has shown a strong interest in collecting the work of contemporary German artists such as Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, and Anselm Kiefer, while simultaneously collecting works by young contemporary artists. Amongst the highlights of the collections are Jakson Pollock’s “Cathedral”, Steve Wolfe’s “Untitled (Piano Music for Erik Satie)”, John Chamberlain’s “Dancing Duke” and Alan Saret’s “Deep Forest Green Dispersion”. The museum’s collection of works on paper, includes photographic works from the earliest pioneers, such as Gustave Le Gray and Henri Le Secq through to Cindy Sherman.
Temporary exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art reflect the breadth of its collections and its educational role. Currently on view is “Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement” (until May 8, 2011). This exhibition offers the first comprehensive examination of the life and work of the recognized patriarch of the American Arts & Crafts movement, Gustav Stickley. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue will explore Stickley as a business leader and design proselytizer, whose body of work included furnishings, architectural and interior designs, and related imagery that became synonymous with the movement that was at its height between approximately 1880 and 1910. This exhibition will include over 100 works produced by Stickley’s designers and workshops, including furniture, metalwork, lighting, and textiles, along with drawings and related designs. Also featured in the exhibition is a re-creation of Stickley’s seminal model dining room from his 1903 Syracuse Arts & Crafts exhibition. “Line and Form: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wasmuth Porfolio” (until July 17th 2011), features sixteen works drawn from a rare example of a portfolio within the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art. In 1910 Frank Lloyd Wright and Berlin publisher Ernst Wasmuth issued ‘Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright (Studies and Executed Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright)’, a portfolio of one hundred stylishly rendered lithographs of plans, details, and perspective views produced by the architect and his assistants. Including defining works such as the architect’s Oak Park home and studio, Unity Temple, and the Larkin Company Administration Building, among other projects, this portfolio served as the first and most important publication of Wright’s innovative Prairie school creations and an inspiration for European and American architects in the decades to follow. This is a rare opportunity for the public to see these design illustrations from a pivotal time in Wright’s career. A third design exhibitiojn, “Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present” is on show until 29th January 2012, and features more recent design works. Including over thirty works drawn largely from the Museum’s collections dating from the 1960s to the present, this exhibition reveals the transformation of ideology and forms that have shaped international design of the last half century. From the technological and formal ideals of modernism to the influence of the handmade object, the works reflect increasingly complex and vibrant relationships between concepts of function, aesthetics, and material expression. Featured are designs by Raymond Loewy, Verner Panton, Frank Gehry, Aldo Rossi, Ettore Sottsass, Robert Venturi, Donald Judd, Zaha Hadid, Louise Campbell, and Fernando and Humberto Campana. In the Center for Creative Connextions, “Encountering Space” runs until August 31st 2011 and presents works of art from the Museum collections and asks visitors to consider how space is used to invite engagement, raise questions, and create meaning. As viewers begin to encounter works of art this way, they are no longer passive observers but active participants. Until April 17th 2011, the museum is offering visitors the opportunity to see “2011 Young Masters Exhibition”, selected works created by Advanced Placement® Studio Art, Art History, and Music Theory students participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Fine Arts Incentive Program™ in the Concourse beginning February 26.