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Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art
Mark di Suvero, Ave, Dallas Museum of Art sculpture garden
Established 1903
Location 1717 N. Harwood, Dallas, TX Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas, Texas, USA
Director Maxwell L. Anderson
Public transit access DART: Pearl/Arts District Station, St. Paul Station, Akard Station
Website Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is a major art museum located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, along Woodall Rodgers Freeway between St. Paul and Harwood. In 1984, the museum moved from its previous location in Fair Park to the Arts District.[1] The new building was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, the 2007 winner of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.[2]

The museum collection is made up of more than 24000 objects, dating from the third millennium BC to the present day. It is also defined by its dynamic exhibition policy[3] and award-winning educational programs.[4] The Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Library (the museum’s non-circulating research library) contains over 50,000 volumes available to curators and the general public.


The museum's history began with the establishment in 1903 of the Dallas Art Association, which initially exhibited paintings in the Dallas Public Library. Frank Reaugh, a Texas artist, saw in the new library the opportunity to display works of art.[5] This idea was championed by May Dickson Exall, who was the first president of the Dallas Public Library. Her intention was the following: “to offer art interest and education through exhibitions and lectures, to form a permanent collection, to sponsor the work of local artists, to solicit support of the arts from individuals and businesses, and to honor citizens who support the arts.”

The museum’s collections started growing from this moment on. It soon became necessary to find a new 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.[6] This new facility was designed by a consortium of Dallas architects in consultation with Paul Cret of Philadelphia. It is still possible to visit this building.

In 1943, Jerry Bywaters became the director of the museum, a position he held for the next twenty-one years.[7] Artist, art critic, and teacher, Bywaters gave a sense of identity and community to the museum.[8]
File:Fox In The Snow - Courbet (1860).JPG
Gustave Courbet, Fox In The Snow, 1860, Dallas Museum of Art
Under Bywaters' tenure, impressionist, abstract, and contemporary masterpieces were acquired and the Texas identity of the museum was emphasized. This identity is today represented by works by Alexandre Hogue, Olin Herman Travis, Bywaters himself, and others.

In 1963, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts merged with the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art,[9] whose director for the previous four years had been Douglas MacAgy. In 1964 Merrill C. Rueppel became the director of the newly merged Museum. The permanent collections of the two museums were then housed within the DMFA facility, suddenly holding significant works by Paul Gauguin, Odilon Redon, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Gerald Murphy, and Francis Bacon. In 1965, the museum held an exhibition called The Art of Piet Mondrian and one entitled Sculpture: Twentieth Century.[3]

By the late 1970s, the greatly enlarged permanent collection and the ambitious exhibition program fostered a need for a new museum facility. Under Harry Parker’s direction, the museum was able to move 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 facility, designed by New York architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, was financed by a 1979 City bond election, together with private donations. The project was galvanized by the slogan “A Great City Deserves a Great Museum,” and the new building opened in January 1984.[10]


The museum's collections[11] include more than 24,000 works of art from around the world ranging from ancient to modern times. They are conceived as a celebration of the human power of creation.[12]

File:Takenouchi no Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea (1879-81).JPG
Takenouchi no Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea, Japanese, Meiji period, 1879-81
  • The Dallas Museum of Art collection of ancient Mediterranean art includes Cycladic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Apulian objects. Highlights of Egyptian art is a painted limestone Relief of a Procession of Offering Bearers from the Tomb of Ny-Ank-Nesut from 2575-2134 BC. The more extensive Greek collection includes a marble Figure of a man from a funerary relief from 300 BC, bronze sculptures, decorative objects, and gold jewelry. The art of ancient Rome is represented by a Figure of a woman from the 2nd century AD and a marble sarcophagus carved in high relief with a battle scene, c. 190 AD.
  • 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. The arts of Tibet, Nepal, and Thailand are also represented.
File:Wheatfield - Van Gogh.jpg
Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, 1890, Dallas Museum of Art
  • The Dallas Museum of Art’s collection of European art starts in the 16th century. Some of the earlier works include paintings by Giulio Cesare Procaccini (Ecce Homo, 1615–18), Pietro Paolini (Bacchic Concert, 1630), and Nicolas Mignard (The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus & Remus to His Wife, 1654). Art of the 18th century is represented by artists like Canaletto (A View from the Fondamenta Nuova, 1772), Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre (The Abduction of Europa, 1750), and Claude-Joseph Vernet (Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm, 1775). The loan of the Michael L. Rosenberg collection brings an added depth to the museum’s 18th-century French collection.[13] The 19th and beginning of the 20th century collection of French art also stands out. Among significant works in this collection are "Silence" by sculptor Auguste Preault, Fox in the Snow by Gustave Courbet (1860), The Seine at Lavacourt by Claude Monet (1880), I Raro te Oviri by Paul Gauguin (1891), Interior (1902), and Les Marroniers ou le Vitrail (1894) by Édouard Vuillard. A growing collection of 19th and 20th century European paintings from Denmark, "Fredericksborg by Moonlight" Johan Christian Dahl, Belgium, "Abundance" by Léon Frédéric, Germany "Italian Landscape" by Hans Thoma, Swiss "The Halberdier" by Ferdinand Hodler, offers a more comprehensive view of the art scene for this period. The sculpture collection from the first part of the 20th century is important thanks to works like " Constructed Head n°2" by Naum Gabo, "Three men Walking" by Alberto Giacometti, 1936, "White Relief" by Ben Nicholson, Beginning of the World by Constantin Brâncuși (1920).The collection of works by Piet Mondrian is also particularly noteworthy, with works like The Windmill (1908), Self-Portrait (1942), and Place de la Concorde (1938–43).[14]
  • The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.[15][16] In 1985 the Dallas Museum of Art received a gift from Wendy Reves in honor of her late husband, the publisher Emery Reves. The Reves collection is housed in an elaborate 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m²) reproduction of the couple' home in France, the Villa La Pausa, where the works were originally displayed in situ. La Pausa was built by the fashion designer Coco Chanel in 1927, and some of the original furniture is kept in its context. 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, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Vincent van Gogh. An extremely fine collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures include very fine bronze casts, rare marble like the first version of the "Sirens", a unique piece "The poet and contemplative life" from the Fenaille family and even an unusual original wax piece. An extensive accompanying collection of decorative arts works includes Chinese export porcelain; European furniture; Oriental and European carpets; iron, bronze, and silver work; European glass; and rare books. Memorabilia of the Reves' friendship with English statesman Winston Churchill, a frequent guest at La Pausa, is housed in the wing as well.
  • Objects in the museum’s African collection come from West Africa 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. Some works in the collection were created as symbols of leadership and status, while others express concepts related to the cycle of life. Highlights of the collection include a Benin plaque of copper alloy over wood depicting a warrior chief, a carved wood Senufo rhythm pounder from southeastern Mali, and a Congo standing power figure studded with ritually embedded iron nails or blades.
  • The museum has significant holdings of ancient American art. The collection covers more than three millennia, displaying sculptures, prints, terracotta, and gold objects. Among the other highlights are gold objects from Panama, Colombia and Peru and the Head of the god Tlaloc (Mexico, 14th-16th century).

Community events

File:Dallas Museum of Art 06.jpg
The Center for Creative Connections

In 2008, the museum premiered the Center for Creative Connections (also known as C3), a Script error: No such module "convert". facility for interactive learning experiences. The center presents exhibitions featuring the museum’s collections and artists’ and community partners’ responses to them. Spaces include the Art Studio, Tech Lab, Theater, and Arturo’s Nest.[24]

The museum also hosts numerous community outreach programs throughout the year, including:

  • Late Nights: once a month the museum is open until midnight with performances, concerts, readings, film screenings, tours and family programs.
  • Arts & Letters Live: a lecture series featuring acclaimed authors, actors, illustrators, and musicians.
  • Thursday Night Live: every Thursday evening there are live jazz concerts, dinner and drinks in the cafe, and artist encounters in the Center for Creative Connections.


In 2013, the Dallas Museum of Art instituted free admission and a free membership program.[25]

Collection highlights: paintings and sculpture

More collection highlights

See also


  1. The Dallas Arts District
  2. Architectural Record News | Edward Larrabee Barnes Named 2007 AIA Gold Medal Winner
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dallas Museum of Art
  4. Dallas Museum of Art
  5. Dallas Museum of Art
  6. Texas Centennial 1936
  7. BYWATERS, WILLIAMSON GERALD [JERRY] | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)
  8. Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas: Exhibitions
  10. Dallas Museum of Art
  11. ’’Dallas Museum of Art, A Guide to the Collection’’ Managing Editor: Debra Wittrup (1997)
  13. Dallas Museum of Art
  14. The Transatlantic Paintings: Work by Piet Mondrian - Dallas Museum of Art -
  15. “The Wendy and Emery Reeves Collection”, Richard R. Bretell (1995)
  23. Fast Forward: Exhibition Catalogue. Contemporary Collections for the Dallas Museum of Art, Edited by Maria de Corral and John R. Lane, 2007
  24. (untitled)
  25. Julia Halperin (April 15, 2013), Dallas Museum of Art Pushes the Frontiers of Audience Engagement Artinfo.

External links


External links

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