Established in 1936, the museum is housed in a classical building and garden courtyards designed so that the art could be experienced with natural light and outdoor views. The original Louis Kahn-designed building has been expanded by Renzo Piano.
Early on, the Foundation collected mostly British and French portraits of the 18th and 19th centuries. Subsequent acquisitions have been guided by a principle 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 collection now numbers more than 350 works of art that epitomize their periods and movements.
Leaving to older and larger institutions the role of collecting broadly and in depth, the Kimbell has continued to pursue quality over quantity. Its holdings range from the third millennium B.C. to the mid-20th century and include major works by Duccio, Fra Angelico, Caravaggio, Poussin, Velázquez, Bernini, Rembrandt, Goya, Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Mondrian, and Matisse. The collection comprises Asian and non-Western as well as European art, and extends only to the mid-20th century in recognition that this is where the collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth begins, and omits American art since this is the focus of another neighboring institution, the Amon Carter Museum.
Read our review of the Kimbell Art Museum in Art Things Considered - An Art Geek Travel Blog.
Whether you go or not, Kimbell Art Museum: Guide covers the this world-renowned collection of masterpieces. Its publication was timed to coincide with the highly anticipated opening of the museum’s new building, designed by Renzo Piano. The book highlights more than 250 works of art from the museum’s collection, which ranges from ancient to modern times and includes European works by artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini, Cézanne, and Matisse; important Egyptian and classical antiquities; and exquisite Asian, Precolumbian, and African works. The handsomely designed book features new photography of all of the museum’s recent acquisitions, including Michelangelo’s Torment of Saint Anthony and Nicolas Poussin’s Sacrament of Ordination. Each work in the book is illustrated and accompanied by informative text written by the Kimbell’s curatorial staff and leading scholars.
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