December 25, 2014: Christmas in Dallas
December 18, 2014: Christmas at the Arboretum
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December 19, 2014
A Visit to the Museums in Fort Worth


 

Today, we are going to take Guy back out to Grapevine and meet at the Snooty Pig for breakfast (a place we have been before). Then we will caravan over to Fort Worth's Museum District to visit the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Kimball Museum.

 

The Museum District in Fort Worth

Fred and I have been to the three major Fort Worth museums frequently; as a matter of fact, we have been there with Prudence frequently too. But Prudence and Nancy haven't been there in a while, and wanted to make the trip today since the museums are on the way for Prudence and Ron and Guy to drive back to San Antonio.


If you are interested, there is a map below showing our route over to Fort Worth from the Snooty Pig, which is just off Texas Highway 121 near Nancy's house in Grapevine:

When we got over to the museum district and had reunited at the Kimball, we found that it was not yet open, so we decided to drop in to the Amon Carter Museum first.

 

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Now in its sixth decade of operation, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art offers a diverse array of exhibitions, publications, and programs that connect visitors to masterworks of American art.


The Amon Carter Museum of American Art was established through the generosity of Amon G. Carter Sr. (1879–1955) to house his collection of paintings and sculpture by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell; to collect, preserve, and exhibit the finest examples of American art; and to serve an educational role through exhibitions, publications, and programs devoted to the study of American art.

When we all got to the Amon Carter, I stopped to take a snapshot of Fred and Guy on the steps up to the museum entrance. Carter had the museum build and oriented so that from the top of the steps there would be a great view of the Fort Worth skyline.

Before we went in to the museum, I stopped at the top of the steps to see if I could create a good panoramic view of Fort Worth as seen from the Amon Carter. I took four pictures and stitched them together into the panorama below:

Then I joined everyone else inside the Amon Carter. Because of his generous bequest, the Amon Carter Museum has remained free; there are no memberships to buy or entrance fees.


Inside the Amon Carter there is a long entry hall that spans the width of the building and is some twenty or thirty feet deep. There are five of the museum's classic acquisitions on the walls, giving the visitor an immediate impression of what the galleries will contain. There are four gallery rooms facing you, two each on either side of the main hall that leads back into the museum. Off that hall are other galleries and, in the rear of the building, an area devoted to the cafe, gift shop and the main stairs to the second floor.

On the second floor are a series of smaller galleries that contain both paintings and sculptures, and which are often devoted to single artists and whose displays rotate frequently. There is also an exhibition space devoted to special exhibits; at present, this space contained an exhibit of the art of George Caleb Bingham entitled "Navigating the West", about the frontier on its waterways.

In the entry hall, I had everyone pose for a group picture, and you can see it at left.

We planned to spend a couple of hours here in the Amon Carter, and we decided to split up and just plan to meet back at the entrance so we could go to the Kimball as a group, and so that is what we did. (Before we split off, I did try my hand at a humorous picture involving Karl and Guy and one of the museum's art pieces, and you can have a look at that picture here.)

Photography is allowed in the museum, although not in the Bingham exhibit, so I have no pictures of that. What I did do was to photograph the paintings that I especially liked or that Guy or Fred did, and I also tried to photograph the description of each one. What I'll do here is just include those pictures, trying to pair each artwork with the photo of its wall description. (In some cases, to make the type on the wall description large enough for you to read, I have put the photo in a scrollable window.) So just scroll down to see some of the beautiful American art here in the Amon Carter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amon G. Carter's prized collection of paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell forms the cornerstone of the museum's collection. Carter (1879-1955), a Fort Worth publisher and philanthropist, began his collection in 1935 with the purchase of nine watercolors b y Russell and an oil painting, His First Lesson, by Remington. According to Carter, his interest in these leading artists of the American West stemmed from his close friendship with the humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935), who prior to his untimely death had been a personal friend of Russell's.

Here are some of the works of these two artists:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carter was also interested in the history of the western experience. Born in a log cabin in Wise County, Texas, he never forgot his simple upbringing and the value of self-reliance. As a result, Carter resolved to make available to others the opportunities that he had not been afforded. In 1950, he began laying the groundwork to establish a museum in Fort Worth and increased his collecting activity. By the time of his death in 1955, he had acquired nearly 400 works by Remington and Russell, including the paintings displayed in this gallery. The Amon Carter Museum would open in 1961.

The above pictures were in the Russell and Remington galleries; here are the final pictures I photographed today:

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing and reading about some of the beautiful, classic American art from the Amon Carter Museum, but now it was time to meet back at the front of the museum and walk over to the Kimball Museum.

 

At The Kimball Museum

The Kimbell Art Foundation was established in 1936 by Kay and Velma Kimbell. Early on, the Foundation collected mostly British and French portraits of the 18th and 19th centuries. By the time Mr. Kimbell died in April 1964, the collection had grown to 260 paintings and 86 other works of art. Motivated by his wish “to encourage art in Fort Worth and Texas,” Mr. Kimbell left his estate to the Foundation, charging it with the creation of a museum. Mr. Kimbell had made clear his desire that the future museum be “of the first class,” and to further that aim, within a week of his death, his widow, Velma, contributed her share of the community property to the Foundation.

With the appointment in 1965 of Richard F. Brown, then director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as the Museum’s first director, the Foundation began planning for the future museum and development of the collection, and developed a Statement of the future museum's purpose. In accordance with that policy, the Foundation acquires and retains works of so-called “definitive excellence”— works that may be said to define an artist or type regardless of medium, period, or school of origin. The aim of the Kimbell is not historical completeness but the acquisition of individual objects of “the highest possible aesthetic quality” as determined by condition, rarity, importance, suitability, and communicative powers. The rationale is that a single work of outstanding merit and significance is more effective as an educational tool than a larger number of representative examples.

Two aspects of the 1966 policy in particular would have the greatest impact on changing the Kimbell collection: an expansion of vision to encompass world history and a new focus on building through acquisition and refinement a small collection of key objects of surpassing quality. The Kimbell collection today consists of about 350 works that not only epitomize their periods and movements but also touch individual high points of aesthetic beauty and historical importance. The most recent development was the opening two years ago of the Piano Pavilion, which housed the exhibition of French Impressionists that was our purpose for today's visit.

The exhibition was marvelous, although photography was not allowed, and we spent a few hours here. I did take a few candid shots outside the exhibition and in the area between the main building and the new pavilion, and I will simply include the best of these below:

 

 

You may be wondering what's going on in that last picture; here's the story. The main Kimbell building, where that photo was taken, was built in the early 1970s, and public buildings of that era set aside small areas for what was then a common amenity. That amenity has largely disappeared; seeing one of what originally occupied this alcove is now quite rare- as evidenced by the activity in which Fred is engaging. I just thought that the contrast was interesting, and interesting too that when the Kimbell removed the alcove's original contents they left the small room in place.

We enjoyed our visit to the two museums, and when we were done, late in the afternoon, we bid Ron, Prudence and Guy goodbye as they left for San Antonio, and we said goodbye too, to Karl and Nancy, who returned home to Grapevine. We, ourselves, headed back home to Dallas.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.



December 25, 2014: Christmas in Dallas
December 18, 2014: Christmas at the Arboretum
Return to the Index for 2014