Friday, October 5, 2012
Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth is big — really big
The special exhibition celebrates the museum’s 40th birthday.
FORT WORTH For 40 years, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth has been molding and shaping its art collection, with treasures that include early acquisitions such as Monet’s “Point de la Heve at Low Tide” or Bellini’s “Christ Blessing.” In later years, purchases delved into Asian, African, and even Precolumbia works of art.
“The Kimbell is beloved all over the world,” said Jennifer Casler Price, the museum’s curator for Asian and non-Western art. “It is a jewel box with a collection of masterpieces.”
Those masterpieces will be on display beginning October 7, when visitors can view 220 of the museum’s 350 works of art during The Kimbell at 40: An Evolving Masterpiece exhibition.
“The exhibition provides the community with a chance to see more works from the collection than have ever before been shown at once,” said George Shackelford, the current deputy director who has been with the Kimbell since January but was a frequent Kimbell speaker for the past 30 years.
“It gives us all an opportunity to discover or rediscover the Museum's fascinating history — a story that's important to the people of North Texas, just as it's important to the understanding of the growth of museums in the twentieth century,” Shackelford said.
Of the various works of art being shown, he said Frederic Leighton’s “Portrait of May Sartoris” is one of the favorites.
“Back in the 1960s, Leighton and other Victorian painters were often overlooked as old-fashioned and passé,” Shackelford said. “Mr. Kimbell recognized the power and quality of this painting; it's become one of the signature images of the museum's collection.”
The exhibition will be divided into various sections for viewing, but instead of by period or culture, they will be categorized by the year in which each piece of art was acquired. It begins on the lower level with a look at the Kimbell acquisitions from the 1940s to 1960s, mainly 18th-century British paintings.
The lower level gallery will also examine the architecture of the Kimbell, with an in-depth look at the Louis Kahn Building as well as the new Renzo Piano Pavilion set to open in late 2013.
“The Kahn Building is a work of art in and of itself,” Price said.
Following the lower level, visitors will be led upstairs to the south and north galleries featuring the tenure of each of the Kimbell’s museum directors. Staying true to its mission throughout the decades, Price said each director’s tenure is reflected in the art purchased during that time.
“It is a visual timeline of how the work here has grown and expanded and it is also very interesting to see the works this way,” Price said.
With at least 50% of the Kimbell art collection normally in storage, Price said the more than 220 pieces on display will certainly be the largest number of works to ever be shown at the museum. Also on display will be unusual architectural models and photographs and panels documenting the museum’s architectural heritage, as well as its many acquisitions and exhibitions over the years, with historical information and anecdotes included.
Museumgoers can also use a new iPad app to read extended information on 32 of the works on display, including paintings by Caravaggio, Monet, and Picasso. The museum will lend 20 iPads to visitors in the gallery, who can look for magnifying glass icons to correspond with “behind-the-scenes information” on the iPad, said Museum Director Eric Lee.
The Kimbell at 40: An Evolving Masterpiece will be on display from October 7 to December 30, 2012. Admission to the Kimbell Art Museum’s permanent collection is free.
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