Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
The University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is one of the finest university art museums in the United States. Strengths of the nearly 16,000-object permanent collection (including the approx. 3,300-object Adkins Collection and the more than 4,000-object James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection) are French Impressionism, 20th-century American painting and sculpture, traditional and contemporary Native American art, art of the Southwest, ceramics, photography, contemporary art, Asian art and graphics from the 16th century to the present.
The main collections are:
- The Weitzenhoffer Collection, a collection of paintings by various Impressionists, including Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Valued at over $50 million, it is considered the most important collection of Impressionist art ever donated to a university.
- The Fleischaker Collection, a large collection of more than 350 pieces of Native American and southwestern paintings, sculpture and ceramics, including some of the most famous works by Russian Taos painters Leon Gaspard and Nicolai Fechin.
- The McGhee Collection, which features dozens of Eastern Orthodox icons dating back to the 15th century.
- The Thams Collection, containing 32 paintings by members of the Taos Society of Artists. Together with the Taos paintings in the Fleischaker Collection, this gift give OU one of the world's leading collections of Taos art.
- The State Department Collection was purchased by the museum in 1948 from the controversial Advancing American Art collection. Hailed as a "cultural Marshall Plan," this traveling exhibit was created by the Department's Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs to demonstrate to the world America's cultural diversity and cosmopolitanism in the mid 20th century. Critics accused the exhibition of portraying an unflattering image of American life and found leftist sentiment in many of the paintings. The exhibition was dismantled by congress in 1947, after only two years, and sold to various institutions. Highlights of the collection include works by Georgia O'Keeffe and Edward Hopper.
- The Eugene B. Adkins Collection - The Adkins Foundation Board announced in 2007 that the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa had been jointly selected to receive the Eugene B. Adkins Collection. The joint partnership by OU and the Philbrook was among many proposals submitted by leading museums across the country. The Adkins Collection, which is valued at approximately $50 million, features nearly 3,300 objects, including more that 400 paintings by American artists. The collection also includes impressive examples of Native American paintings, pottery and jewelry.
- The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection, a multimillion-dollar collection of more than 4,000 works representing indigenous cultures across North America, especially the Pueblos of the Southwest, the Navajo, the Hopi, many of the tribes of the Northern and Southern Plains and the Southeastern tribes. Bialac gave his private collection to the University of Oklahoma in 2010. Included in the collection are approximately 2,600 paintings and works on paper, over 1,000 kachinas and approximately 400 works of varying media, including ceramics and jewelry, representing many major Native artist such as Fred Kabotie, Awa Tsireh, Fritz Scholder, Joe Herrera, Allan Houser, Jerome Tiger, Tonita Pena, Helen Hardin, Pablita Velarde, George Morrison, Richard “Dick” West, Patrick DesJarlait and Pop Chalee.
Special exhibitions are held every few months to showcase works in the museum's permanent collection, traveling exhibitions and more.
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum was founded in 1936 by OU art professor Oscar Jacobson, who became the museum's first director and served in that post until his retirement in 1950. It originally featured only 250 works, all of which were collected by Jacobson. After a donation later that year of hundreds of pieces of East and Central Asian art by Lew Wentz and Gordon Matzene of Ponca City, Oklahoma, the university moved the museum to the former library building, which is now Jacobson Hall. Under Jacobson's tenure as director, the museum greatly expanded its collection of Native American art, including many works by the Kiowa Five, who had studied under Jacobson in the 1920s.
The collection continued to grow, and in 1971, a building just for the large collection was built, and it was officially established as the Fred Jones Jr. Memorial Art Center. In 1992 it was renamed the Fred Jones, Jr., Museum of Art. When current OU president David Boren arrived at OU in 1994, he and his wife Molly Shi Boren began a campaign to expand the museum's collections, which has resulted in many of the museums most valuable acquisitions.
2000 was a watershed year in the development of the FJJMA's collections, with the gift of the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism. In 2003, it became apparent that the original facilities could not properly display enough of the museum's rapidly growing collection. Construction began on a $14 million new wing to the museum, which, when completed two years later, doubled the museum's size. Designed by Washington, D.C.-based architect Hugh Jacobson, its signature "hut-like" design has made it one of the most recognizable buildings on campus.
In 2005 the museum opened the new addition, named in honor of Mary and Howard Lester of San Francisco.
In 2007, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Philbrook Museum of Art were named stewards of the Eugene B. Adkins Collection. To properly display OU’s portion of the Adkins Collection, the University began construction in 2009 on a new level above the original museum structure. Opened in October 2011, the Stuart Wing provides a new 18,000-square-foot expansion of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art to house the museum’s many collections acquired within the past 15 years. Designed by noted architect Rand Elliott, the new addition is named the Stuart Wing to honor a $3 million lead gift from the Stuart Family Foundation made possible by the generosity of OU Regent Jon R. Stuart and his wife, Dee Dee, a member of the art museum’s board of visitors. Construction includes renovations to the original 1971 building and the addition of the Eugene B. Adkins Gallery, a new photography gallery and new administrative offices. In all, the new Stuart Wing, with renovations, includes 27,480 square feet (2,553 m2) of exhibition space. Combining that with the 2005 Lester Wing’s 12,106 square feet (1,124.7 m2), the total museum exhibition space, is approximately 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2).
Ghislain d'Humières served as the Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art from 2007 to 2013. Emily Ballew Neff was appointed Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director and Chief Curator 2013-14.
In 2015, Mark White was named the Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director and Eugene B. Adkins Curator.
- "Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at travel.yahoo.com". Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- "The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma". Retrieved 2009-06-21.[dead link]
- "Alumnus adds arts to OU museum". 14 March 2003. OU Daily.
- Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art info, photos and video on TravelOK.com Official travel and tourism website for the State of Oklahoma
- Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture - Fred Jones, Jr., Museum of Art