Baltimore Museum of Art
|Baltimore Museum of Art|
|Baltimore Museum of Art|
|Location||10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
|Director||Dr. Doreen Bolger
BMA Museum Director
|President||Frederick Singley Koontz
BMA Board of Trustees Chair
Stiles Tuttle Colwell
BMA Immediate Past Board of Trustees Chair
|Curator||Jay McKean Fisher
Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs
|Public transit access||
Coordinates: The Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, was founded in 1914. Built in the Roman Temple style, the Museum is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 90,000 works of art—including the largest holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world. It is located between the Charles Village and Remington neighborhoods, immediately adjacent to the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University, though the museum is an independent institution not affiliated with the University.
Since Sunday, October 1, 2006, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum have had free admission year-round as a result of grants given by Baltimore City and Baltimore County, excepting for special exhibitions.
The Baltimore Museum of Art is the site of Gertrude's Restaurant, owned and operated by chef John Shields.
In 1904 a major fire destroyed much of the central part of the city of Baltimore. In response, the city government established a City-Wide Congress to develop a master plan for the city's recovery and future growth and development. The congress, headed by Dr. A.R.L. Dohme, decided among other things that a major deficiency of the city was the lack of an art museum. This decision led to the formation of an eighteen-person Committee on the Art Museum led by art dealer and industrialist Henry H. Wiegand as the Chairman. Ten years later, on November 16, 1914, the founders were incorporated.
William-Sergeant Kendall's painting Mischief, donated by Dr. Dohme, was the first work of art accessioned by the new museum. Without a permanent site, the Peabody Institute agreed to hold the museum's collection until a home was found. The group did try to get Henry Walters to open his recently completed Italianate palazzo, which he had built as a showcase for his works of art, as the city's museum, when he refused, the committee began planning a permanent home for the museum. In 1916 they purchased a building on the southwest corner of Charles and Biddle Streets and employed an architect to remodel it, but it was never occupied. The group had decided in 1915 to locate the museum permanently in Wyman Park, and by 1917 they had received a promise from Johns Hopkins University for the land it currently occupies. Before moving into its permanent home in 1929, however, the museum temporarily moved to the Garrett house at 101 West Monument in July 1922. The house was offered by Miss M. Cary as a home for the "collections" and a meeting place for the board of trustees. Garrett house was acquired in 1925 by a group of art enthusiasts who bought the property for the purpose of keeping museum intact.The museum offered accommodations to art associations and a hall for meetings despite having limited space.
Meanwhile, back at Wyman Park, the architect John Russell Pope was engaged to design the museum's permanent home, and the cornerstone was laid on October 20, 1927. The systems engineering for the building's original design was completed by Henry Adams (mechanical engineer). The building consists of three floors and includes several rooms that are replicated from six Maryland historic houses. The building phase was marked by controversy over its location, cost, and the quality of workmanship, but on April 19, 1929, it opened on schedule without much fanfare. The first visitors were greeted by Rodin's The Thinker in the Sculpture Court and most of the objects on display were lent by Baltimore and Maryland collectors. An average of 584 visitors attended the museum each day during the first two months of its opening. When the Museum opened in 1929, the library was on the ground floor, equipped with shelves to house several thousand volumes, reading tables, and chairs. In 1983 the library was reinstalled in its current location, on the third floor of the Cone Wing.
Many of the objects lent to the museum when it opened were eventually donated to The Baltimore Museum of Art. Among the generous donors who have shaped the museum's collection are Blanche Adler, Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone, Jacob Epstein, Edward J. Gallagher, Jr., John W. and Robert Garrett, Mary Frick Jacobs, Ryda H. and Robert H. Levi, Saidie Adler May, Dorothy McIlvain Scott, Elsie C. Woodward, and Alan and Janet Wurtzburger. The growing collection is reflected in three major expansions that occurred in the 1950s: the Saidie A. May Wing in 1950, the Woodward Wing in 1956, and the Cone Wing in 1957. The three additions were all designed by local architects Wrenn, Lewis and Jencks to harmonize with the original Pope Building.
Today, The Baltimore Museum of Art's permanent collection includes over 90,000 objects, making it the largest art museum in Maryland. It is governed by a private Board of Trustees and receives funding from the City of Baltimore, surrounding Counties, the State of Maryland, corporations and foundations, Federal agencies, Trustees, and private citizens. The Baltimore Museum of Art welcomes over 300,000 visitors annually. In addition to its impressive permanent collection, it is host to traveling exhibitions and serves as a major arts center through its program offerings.
Most recently, in November 2012, phase 1 of the announced $24 million multi-year renovations to the BMA was completed which completely renovated the BMA's Contemporary Wing for the very first time since it opened in 1994, phase 2 of the renovations which includes renovating the American Art galleries and the African Art galleries have begun and is expected to be completed by the 100th Anniversary of the BMA in 2014. Phase 3 which is the final phase of the renovations which involves renovating the East Wing Lobby and Entrance to the BMA is also expected to take place and be completed in 2014.
Future of the Baltimore Museum of Art 
Architectural Master Plan Announced 
On June 21, 2005, the Baltimore Museum of Art released a press release announcing a master plan that would chart the museum's architectural future for the next 20 years, the museum is currently approximately 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) in size. The master plan was created in cooperation between the Baltimore Museum of Art and Baltimore-based Ayers/Saint/Gross Architects + Planners. The master plan proposed the following:
- Reopening the original Merrick Entrance.
- Connecting the galleries with a glass-enclosed atrium.
- Reinstalling the collections in new gallery spaces.
- A new North entrance for the BMA would create a direct connection to a JHU parking garage opened in 2007 and the expansion would provide space for new study centers, classrooms and a brand new library replacing the current one located on the third floor of the Cone Wing.
$24 Million Capital Renovation Project Announced 
Nearly 5 years later, on June 15, 2010, the Baltimore Museum of Art released a press release announcing a $24 million multi-year renovation and partial expansion project starting in February 2011 and projected to end on the BMA's 100 anniversary in 2014. The capital renovation project the BMA is currently undertaking builds upon the successful $4 million renovation of the Cone Wing in 2001, and the $2 million renovation of the European Art galleries just two years later in 2003.
Contemporary Art Galleries
The BMA's West Wing for Contemporary Art has 16 galleries that houses 20th and 21st century art with holdings of abstract expressionism, minimalism, conceptual art and the late works belonging to Andy Warhol. The proposed changes are:
- State-of-the-art lighting in all 16 galleries to allow for changing displays of prints, drawings, and photography.
- A dedicated "black box" space to house works of new media, technology-based art and time-based art.
- Free Wi-Fi Internet for museum visitors
American Art Galleries
The BMA's American Art galleries are located in the historic John Russell Pope building that houses American paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative arts from the earliest times to the present. Nine galleries inside the 2nd floor of the Dorothy McIlvan Scott Wing will be renovated with the proposed changes:
- Dedicate a gallery to highlight the BMA's works by glass designer Louis Comfort Tiffany.
- Dedicate a gallery to celebrate Maryland artists.
African Art Collection/Gallery
The BMA's African Art collection of over 2,000 objects that spans from ancient Egypt all the way to contemporary Zimbabwe that also includes several objects that are identified as the best of their kind from west and central Africa is one of the earliest and most important collections in the U.S. The proposed changes for the African Art gallery are:
- Organizing the collection by theme rather than geographically so visitors can more clearly make out cross-cultural connections.
- Displaying African masks, textiles, and other objects in ways that better represents their original scale and context.
Visitor Amenities and Infrastructure
The BMA's 1982 East Wing Lobby will be renovated to have:
- Improved visitor amenities.
- Updated BMA Shop (the BMA's gift shop).
Proposed infrastructure renovations include:
- Two new roofs.
- A state-of-the-art building automation system that will improve the climate in the museum's 10 interconnected buildings.
Current Renovation Schedule
- Contemporary galleries closed in January 2011 and has reopened November 17, 2012.
- Galleries in the Dorothy McIlvain Scott Wing closed in August 2012 and are expected to reopen in 2014.
- The African Art collection has closed in fall 2012 and will reopen in 2014. The East Wing Lobby renovations will also occur during this timeframe.
African Art 
The BMA was one of the first museum's in the United States to obtain a collection of African Art. A large part of the collection was donated by Janet and Alan Wurtzburger in 1954. The collection contains more than 2,000 objects that span from ancient Egypt to contemporary Zimbabwe and includes works from many other cultures including Bamana, Yoruba, Kuba, Ndebele, and others. The collection includes many different forms of art including headdresses, masks, figures, royal staffs, textiles, jewelry, ceremonial weapons, and pottery. Several of the pieces are known for their use in royal courts, performances, and religious contexts, and many are internationally known.
Highlights of the collection include works by carvers Zlan and Sonzanlwon and several figures by the legendary brasscaster Ldamie. Also on display are a Lozi throne (c.1900) most likely carved in the court of King Lewanika of western Zambia, a 20th-century Hausa Koranic prayer board, and a 2006 video work by Theo Eshetu.
American Art 
The BMA has one of the best collections of American Art in the world with works spanning from the colonial era to the late 20th century. The exhibit contains American paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The museum contains several works of Art from the Baltimore area including portraiture by Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, and other members of the renowned Peale family; silver from Baltimore's prominent silver manufacturing company Samuel Kirk & Son; American Baltimore album quilts; and painted furniture by John Finlay and Hugh Finlay of Baltimore.
The American painting collection at the museum ranges from 18th-century portraits and 19th-century landscape painting to American Impressionism and modernism with works by acclaimed artists John Singleton Copley, Thomas Sully, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, and Thomas Hart Benton. Notable canvases include A Wild Scene (1831–1832) by Thomas Cole, La Vachère (1888) by Theodore Robinson, and Pink Tulip (1926) by Georgia O’Keeffe. These are complemented by outstanding holdings of prints and drawings, as well as modern photographs from the Gallagher/Dalsheimer Collection. Artists represented include by Imogen Cunningham, Man Ray, Paul Strand, and Alfred Stieglitz.
The BMA has a long and distinguished record of collecting works by African-American artists that began in 1939 with one of the first exhibitions of African-American art in the country. This collection has grown substantially in recent years with the addition of more than 50 historical and contemporary works. Joshua Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Edmonia Lewis, Horace Pippin, and Henry Ossawa Tanner are included among the 19th- and 20th-century African-American artists.
The BMA’s holdings of American decorative arts include an extensive furniture collection that represents the major historic cabinetmaking centers of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. Many of these objects came from Miss Dorothy McIlvain Scott, a generous Baltimore philanthropist and collector.
A remarkable gift in 1933 by Mrs. Miles White, Jr. of over 200 stunning pieces of Maryland silver formed the nucleus of an impressive silver collection that now embraces objects by leading 18th- and early 19th-century silversmiths in Annapolis and Baltimore, as well as elegant examples of early English silver owned by Maryland families during the Federal era. Among them is the Annapolis Subscription Plate, made by Annapolis silver smith John Inch and the oldest surviving silver object made in Maryland. Later masterworks by artists from Louis Comfort Tiffany to Georg Jensen are also on view.
Other notable aspects of the decorative arts collection include a rare set of five clerestory windows and two brilliant mosaic-clad architectural columns that represent Tiffany's lasting contribution to 20th-century ornament. Period rooms from six historic Maryland houses, along with architectural elements from other historic buildings, illustrate town and country building styles from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a dozen miniature rooms made by Chicago miniaturist Eugene Kupjack invite scrutiny of a variety of decorative styles at close range.
Antioch Mosaics 
The BMA exhibits a distinquished collection of Antioch mosaics, the result of its participation in excavations of this ancient city, known today as Antakya in southeastern Turkey, near the border of Syria.
With the support of BMA Trustee Robert Garrett, The Baltimore Museum of Art joined the Musées Nationaux de France, Worcester Art Museum, and Princeton University during the excavations of 1932 to 1939, discovering 300 magnificent mosaic pavements in and around the lost city. The BMA received some of the finest mosaics from the excavation, totaling 34 pavements, 28 of which are on display in the Museum’s sunlit atrium court.
Discovered in the affluent suburb of Daphne and the nearby port city of Seleucia Pieria, the mosaics date from the days of the emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century A.D. to the Christian empire of Justinian in the 6th century, bridging the Classical world and the early Middle Ages. The mosaics illustrate how the classical art of Greece and Rome evolved into the art of the early Christian era and tell the story of how people lived in this ancient city prior to its destruction by catastrophic earthquakes in 526 and 528 A.D. The mosaics are notable for their grand scale and elaborately patterned borders, and the brilliance of their decorative and naturalistic effects.
Art of the Ancient Americas 
This collection contains works from 59 distinct artistic traditions from Aztec and Maya of Mesoamerica, Chimú and Muisca of Andean South America, and Nicoya and Atlantic Watershed of Costa Rica. The collection includes works from 2500 B.C. – A.D. 1521. The core collection of 120 objects was given to the museum by Alan Wurtzburger in 1958 which significantly expanded the scope of the existing collection and provided momentum for a traveling exhibition of Peruvian ceramics titled Myths of Ancient Peru (1969).
The collection is particularly admired for its West Mexico ceramics including an important Nayarit house model and an enthroned chief. Also on display is a unique assemblage of 23 figures in dance regalia celebrates ancient performance and highlights the diversity of Colima art.
Other notable pieces include a finely worked serpentine figure of Olmec mastery, elegant portrayals of Maya and Aztec noblewomen showcasing the integral roles women played in the social, political, economic, and spiritual realms of society, and miniature gold votives in the Muisca tradition.
Art of the Pacific Islands 
This exihibit includes artwork from several cultural traditions of the Pacific Islands including those of Melanesia and Polynesia. Works in collection include a cross section of objects such as jewelry, ornaments, and tapa cloths.
Of notable interest is a finely carved lizard of dark wood and shell from Easter Island, a battle pectoral created from hundreds of Nassa shells, which highlights Middi art of New Britain, and an 18th-century royal Hawaiian necklace.
Other highlights of the collection include a breast ornament embellished with small birds and stars that figured as insignia of prestige for the Tonga of the Fiji Islands. Featuring whale ivory and pearl shell design, it is recognized as one of the largest of its kind.
Asian art 
The museum's Asian art collection includes works from China, Japan, India, Tibet, Southeast Asia, and the Near East. The collection is particularly known for its Chinese ceramics, with a particular depth in mortuary wares from the Tang Dynasty (618–907) and utilitarian stonewares from the 11th through the 13th centuries. Although more than 1,000 objects are comprised by this collection, due to limited space only a portion of the pieces are on display at one time. Works are on view in rotating installations in the museum's Julius Levy Memorial Gallery.
Some notable works in the collection include the life-sized early 15th century bronze Guanyin, known widely as "Goddess of Mercy"; the robust figure of a horse from a Han dynasty tomb; a 39-piece mortuary retinue, a rare example of the quantities of clay figures that were placed in tombs during the early Tang dynasty; and an outstanding foliate-shaped brush washer that represents the mastery of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. Asian art is also represented in other areas of the museum's collection, including 475 Japanese prints and 1,000 textiles from across Asia.
European Art 
The European Art collection at the BMA contains works from the 15th through 19th-centuries. Most of the collection was formed through generous donations made by private citicens of the city of Baltimore, notably Mary Frick Jacobs, George A. Lucas, and Jacob Epstein. The collection contains a large selection of 19th-century French art including more than 140 bronze animal sculptures by Antoine-Louis Barye and several paintings by Barbizon artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and impressionist Camille Pissarro. The collection also includes a wide array of decorative arts, including jeweled snuffboxes, porcelain, and silver. The museum also exhibits a large collection of works on paper from the 15th through the 19th century.
Highlights of the European art exhibit include Sir Anthony van Dyck's Rinaldo and Armida (1629) which was commissioned by King Charles I of England. It is considered one of the world’s finest paintings by the artist. Other masterworks of northern European and French art include Frans Hals’ portrait Dorothea Berck (1644), Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting of his son Titus (1660), Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin’s portrayal of a lovely maiden tossing a ball in The Game of Knucklebones (c. 1734), and French court portraitist Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s exotic Princess Anna Alexandrovna Galitzin (c. 1797). Medieval and Renaissance works include a 14th-century Burgundian Virgin and Child carved of limestone and Titian’s Portrait of a Gentleman (1561). There are also Late Medieval and Renaissance paintings by Giovanni Dal Ponte,Biagio D'Antonio,Sandro Botticelli and Workshop,Bernardino Luimi,Francesco Ubertini,and Master of View of Saint Gudule.
Cone collection 
The Cone collection was the work of the Cone sisters, Claribel and Etta Cone, who in the early 20th century set out to acquire as much as they could of the work of artists such as Matisse and Picasso especially, and also Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Renoir among other major artists of the era.
Contemporary Art Wing 
The BMA's Contemporary Art Wing was built and opened in 1994, closed in February 2011 for renovations, the first renovations ever done since the opening of the Contemporary Wing, and reopened in November 2012 with completely redone flooring, newly painted walls with a different color, state-of-the-art lighting, a gallery dedicated to new media, technology-based art and time-based art, a specific gallery set aside just for prints, drawings and photographs that the BMA has in its contemporary art collection that was made possible by the new lighting system, and free Wi-Fi internet throughout the entire Contemporary Wing for museum visitors to utilize and can access on smartphones and Wi-Fi enabled tablets and mobile devices, a brand new mobile website guide specifically for the Contemporary Art Wing.
The newly renovated Contemporary Art Wing also made history for the BMA in that it contains a unique piece of art specifically made for the Contemporary Art Wing that made the BMA the very first museum in the United States to commission and acquire a site-specific installation by award-winning artist Sarah Oppenheimer. It also showcases works by Olafur Eliasson, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Franz West, and other eminent artists alongside thrilling new acquisitions from 21st-century artists such as Guyton\Walker, Josephine Meckseper, Sarah Sze, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. There are also Contemporary works by Oliver Herring,Phillip Guston, Sarah Oppenheimer,Ed Rushka,and Ollafur Eliasson at this art museum.
See also 
- "FREE ADMISSION AT BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART AND WALTERS ART MUSEUM BEGINS OCTOBER 1". Groundbreaking cooperation and financial support from Baltimore City and Baltimore County provides greater public access to world-class art. Archived from the original on 2 October 2006. Retrieved September 23, 2006.
Further reading 
- Flam, Jack. Matisse in the Cone Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, 2001 ISBN 0-912298-73-1
- Dackerman, Susan Painted Prints: The Revelation of Color in Northern Renaissance and Baroque Engravings, Etchings, and Woodcuts, Baltimore Museum of Art, 2002 ISBN 0-271-02235-3
- Baltimore Museum of Art Website
- Baltimore Museum of Art: the Cone Collection
- Baltimore Museum of Art on Google Street View